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Poverty in America and the new Census Numbers

The numbers just released paint a difficult portrait of the sate of poverty in the United Sates. The latest census formula took in consideration the cost of living by region and defined as living in a state of poverty 16 percent of the population or 49.1 million Americans.  The census numbers came on the eve of a vote by the congressional super committee which is to define exactly where cuts should be made. More than ever we cannot let the voice of 16 percent of American be drowned out by all the other noises heard in the media.  Real people with incredible difficult circumstances will be affected by budget cuts to social services. The American Winter documentary aims to make the voices of the weakest amongst us louder.

Read the detailed article about the new Census on Poverty in America.

Have you tried living on food stamps?

Some politicians are according to this very interesting article on Food Stamps in the New York Times:

"WASHINGTON — Facing billions of dollars in possible cuts, advocates for the poor are resorting to some creative tactics to grab the attention of Congress: Getting lawmakers to try eating on $4.50 a day, just as some 46 million food-stamp recipients already do."

"Crisis Call 211 Puts Camera on Plight of the Poor, Former Middle Class"

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), with over 32,000 members,
has endorsed our project and posted an article about Crisis Call 211 (now renamed American Winteron their blog Social Workers Speak today.

Crisis Call 211 wins project of the week on Indie Wire

Thank you for all your votes and your show of support.  Thanks to you Crisis Call 211 was voted Project of the Week in Indie Wire.  Our documentary (now renamed American Winter) is now in the running for Project of the Month and we're excited.  We're still gathering donations to our KickStarter campaign and we only have 19 days to go, so spread the word to make this important social documentary happen.

Vote for Crisis Call 211 on Indie Wire

Our documentary Crisis Call 211 (now renamed American Winter) was project of the day on Indie Wire on Monday, and today and this week-end you can vote to make it project of the week.  Your reward:  you will help with the making of this important documentary that may influence social change.  Not everyone can pitch a tent and occupy their city to speak up against social disparities and hardships, but you can help today by voting for Crisis Call 211 on Indie Wire.

Our film is Project of the Day on today!

A BIG THANKS to those of you who have contributed to our film on Kickstarter!  We've been working hard to get the word out about the film, and today we are featured as indieWIRE's project of the day!  
Joe Gantz spent the weekend in Portland, meeting with crew, visiting the 211 office, and laying the groundwork for production, scheduled for November 28th.  There is definitely a lot of passion and enthusiasm for this subject matter, and it seems like  EVERYONE we talk to about this film feels the same sense of urgency to show the consequences of this broken economy from the viewpoint of families just trying to get by.  Now we just have to reach our funding goals to make sure we can start shooting by the end of November and get this film out into the world before the 2012 elections!  Keep spreading the word!  We need your help to make this happen!  

How families cope as they lose it all

A very interesting article in the Los Angeles Times about families trying to cope during the financial crisis. Familes facing the economic downturn deserve the voice that the documentary Crisis Call 211 (now renamed American Winter) will give them. By helping finance the documentary on KickStarter you can help give a voice to those most at risk.

picture courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Why the Crisis Call 211 documentary matters

Every day, more Americans find themselves descending into a perilous economic situation.  Lost as to what to do next and desperate to meet their basic needs, many call a number looking for help: that number is 211.  In a nondescript building in downtown Portland, men and women answer these calls twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The sole mission of the 211 call center is to connect people with the social service agencies that may be able to provide the urgent housing, health, or financial assistance that they need.
We are producing American Winter to reveal the dramatic struggle of these individuals and families in their time of need, beginning with their phone call to 211.  From there, with the caller’s permission, a camera crew rushes to the caller’s location and captures the events unfolding as the subjects try to find a solution to their crisis.  We intend to follow several families as they struggle to get their life back on course, weaving these powerful stories into a narrative that will give viewers insight into the impact of budget cuts to social services on a growing number of families who desperately need help. 
Not surprisingly, it is no longer just the chronically poor who are affected by our nation’s economic downturn-- the impact has spread to the middle class.  Chances are that you, or someone in your family, have been hurt by this economy, or you know someone who is still suffering.  The volume of calls at the 211 call centers nationwide is exploding as many families find themselves in need of assistance for the first time in their lives.  211 calls come from a mother who can’t feed her children and needs to find a food bank for help… A homeless vet with chronic medical problems… A family just evicted from their home in need of shelter for the night… A single mother with an asthmatic child whose electricity is about to be shut off, making it impossible to use his breathing machine… A single father of four whose unemployment has run out and now can’t cover their bills.  These are the daily battles that 211 operators face on the frontlines of America’s current economic crisis.
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