“American Winter,” a documentary following the personal stories of eight Oregon families in the aftermath of the Great Recession, will be shown at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Bijou Theatre, 1624 Hwy 101 in Lincoln City, followed by a question and answer session with local experts.
The free showing is presented by Lincoln County School District’s Homeless Education and Literacy Project (HELP) and partnering agencies, Family Promise of Lincoln County and The Backpack for Kids Program.
The award-nominated HBO documentary, filmed in Portland by brothers Harry and Joe Gantz, looks past the myths and misconceptions of homelessness at the reality. All indicators show that the United States has the highest population of poor citizens since records have been kept, greater than during the Great Depression.
Organizers said with 46 percent of Americans living in or near poverty, such everyday occurrences as a blown tire or a toothache can mean the difference between paying the rent and living in the car, putting gas in the tank to get to work or buying food for the family. According to the organizers, this film brings this hard reality close to home.
Following the film, the panel session will bring the reality of poverty even closer to home. The panel will consist of Hanna Connett, HELP Advocate; Linda Roy, Family Promise of Lincoln County Interim Director; Bill Hall, Lincoln County Commissioner; and Pat Robertson, Backpack for Kids Program Co-Founder
“Lincoln County has a unique economy and our recovery rate hasn’t kept pace with the rest of the country,” said Sue Anderson, Family Promise Board Member.
“United we are so much stronger,” said Connett. “As organizations, we work together to meet the many needs of our local children, and we invite the community to join us. Together we can make a more effective impact.”
HELP AmeriCorps Volunteer Coordinator Lynn Foster added, “The community has been so generous to us. We’re very grateful to Bijou Theatre, Tanger Outlets, North Lincoln Hospital Foundation, and United Way for partnering with us to help make this event possible. Awareness is the first step in creating change and we hope to see a full house.”
Admission is free but donations are appreciated. Monetary donations will benefit the Lincoln County School District HELP Program and Family Promise. Non-perishable food items will benefit the Backpack Program of Lincoln City.
For more information contact Lynn at 541-996-4878 or visit www.cinemalovers.com.
The LCSD HELP Program: The Lincoln County School District HELP Program provides services to students experiencing homeless in Lincoln County to help them overcome barriers and stay successful in school. For more information contact Hanna Connett at 541-996-4878, Katey Townsend at 541-265-4506, or visit their website at www.lincoln.k12.or.us.
Family Promise of Lincoln County: This group’s purpose is to alleviate child and parent homelessness by mobilizing communities and building partnerships with congregations and social service agencies to provide shelter, meals and more as families strive for sustainable independence. For more information call Linda Roy at 541-992-1682 or visit their website at www.familypromiseoflincolncounty.org.
The Backpack For Kids Program: This program discreetly provides nutritious, child-friendly, easy-to-prepare food to chronically hungry kids in every day backpacks to take home over the weekends and out-of-school times. For more information contact Pat Robertson at 541-994-5296 or visit their website at www.backpackforkids.org.