Fighting for Food and Raising Awareness of the Fight

Film kickstarter campaign:

“I know there are children and adults going without meals every day. It is a subject most people don’t think about. It’s not sexy, glamorous or suspenseful. I live in Rockland County and there are thousands of people seeking assistance from food pantries each month. In fact, there are 35,000 food insecure people in Rockland alone. Hunger is not getting better. It is getting worse.”

Joe Allen, President and member Board of Directors of People to People, the largest food pantry in Rockland County and Producer of a new documentary,
“The Great All-American Food Fight”

Joe Allen
Why would someone want to write, produce and direct a documentary about fighting hunger in the suburbs? Why would he endure finding the funds for such an endeavor? Finding just the right music, negotiating rights, and writing, editing, shooting endless streams of video and finally bringing the story to the screen? Joe Allen, Senior Vice President of Employee Communications and Community Affairs at Active International and Manager of their philanthropic program, Active Cares, is passionate about the subject having spent the last five years as President of People to People and witnessing first hand where he sees a very large challenge.

Grace, Executive Director of People to People Diane Serratore's neice helping at the Pantry.
“I love making films; it’s my way of telling the story I feel needs to be told. Finding ways to better a system that needs as much “better” as it can get,” said Allen. “We are at such a crossroads in the way we view people who can’t fully provide adequate food for themselves and their families. Some on the political spectrum believe if we help those in need lift themselves up, they will become active participants in the American dream. Others believe those folks are just waiting for handouts and the money used to help them could be better spent elsewhere.”

“The Great All-American Food Fight” will focus on how a small suburban food pantry is able to get enough food for its clients, those who are part of the 50 million people in the U.S. who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The film is being produced at a time when $5 billion, or 3.5 billion meals, has recently been cut from SNAP, formerly called food stamps, and much deeper cuts could be in the offing soon. A House of Representatives plan calls for removing another $39 billion in benefits over the next decade.

“We are seeing a jump in the number of clients coming to the pantry this fall—before the first SNAP cuts took effect. We don’t know what to expect when those cuts hit home to people and new ones follow them.” says Allen.

Allen was the producer/director of a documentary, “20 Million Minutes,” completed earlier this year. The film tells the story of a small community’s efforts to get the International Olympic Committee to hold a minute of silence at the Opening Ceremony of the Games for the Israeli athletes, coaches and referees murdered by terrorists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

“The Great All-American Food Fight” examines why we can’t feed the hungry in this country. We have the food and we have the money so why are there still millions upon millions of hungry men, women and children that go hungry? Allen points to the fact that more than 40% of all food manufactured in the U.S. ends up being thrown away. He also points to the more than $600 billion in tax breaks given to large corporations, a fraction of which could be going instead to people in America for food, and thus ending the scourge of hunger.

“The stock market has reached record levels once again, but the financial ability for people to feed their families hasn’t returned to pre-recession levels. That has widened the gap between the haves and the have-nots to levels not seen in nearly a hundred years.” explains Allen.

In order to fund the film, Allen has sought both private donations and is in the middle of a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign When the film is complete, it will be gifted to People to People for its marketing and awareness efforts and, as such, donations to the making of the film are tax deductible.

“This film is important in raising visibility and discussing why we can’t solve this problem. We’ve heard how high the numbers are, watched and read about the heroic efforts of some to take care of their families and others, but what about why we remain in the position we’re in?” Allen continued.

“That’s what I am focusing on in telling this story. It is a fight.
A Great All-American fight.”


See more about the filmmaker here:

Find the Kickstarter Campaign here:

Joe Allen is also Senior Vice President of Employee Communications and Community Affairs at Active International and heads up their philanthropic program, Active Cares.