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Film night raises funds for food

By Marni Walsh


Nearly 500 lbs of food and close to $4,000 in cash was raised at “Monday Night at the Movies” for local food banks on February 27.

More than 450 people came out to view the film I, Daniel Blake in support of the effort.

Monday Night at the Movies (MNM) is a non-profit organization running in partnership with the Film Circuit, an outreach programme that brings Canadian and international films and artists to communities across the country where they would otherwise never be seen.

The Film Circuit now has more than 180 groups in over 160 communities across Canada, including Orangeville.

MNM in Orangeville is run by a dedicated committee of volunteers, including Andrea Stewart who says the group has “screened over 200 films at the Orangeville Galaxy Theatres, donated the DVDs to local libraries, hosted fundraisers and provided Commencement Awards at three local secondary schools.”

I, Daniel Blake, directed by Ken Loach, with screenplay by Paul Laerty won the Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

The film addresses challenges facing people in need of social services.

Andrea Stewart said the organization teamed up with local food banks “to give support to members of our own community who are in need.”

Donations of both cash and non-perishable food items were accepted on Monday night at the Galaxy Theatre in Orangeville.

“Set in Newcastle, England the film addresses some challenges people face when down on their luck,” says Ms. Stewart. “Daniel Blake is forced to rely on state benefits for the first time in his life, after medical problems in his late 50s. He encounters and befriends a young family who is also dependent upon welfare. The story depicts the bureaucracy and difficulties of living in poverty.”

Prior to the screening, Heather Hayes, Executive Director of the Orangeville Food Bank, addressed some of the issues the food bank faces each month as they struggle to service approximately 500 Orangeville and area residents a month, providing over 173,000 lbs of food a year with community donations and volunteer staff, while shouldering a building rental bill of $5,200 a month.

“I have been told this is a hard movie to watch,” said Ms. Hayes, “but our intake volunteers hear these stories every day.”

“The film had such an impact on people myself included,” Ms. Hayes added. “You could see how people felt after having viewed the film, appreciating some of the challenges that we know people experience every day.”

“We so appreciate the effort of Monday Night at the Movies,” said Ms. Hayes and the “continued generosity of the community.”
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