Morrison Living Supports Entertainment Industry Members Facing Food Insecurity
Pictured above Carolyn Ryan has joined an army of volunteers delivering groceries.
Like all communities, many of the programs, marketing, and development strategies that Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) had used for years came to a quick halt as COVID-19 swept the nation. The pandemic put a special strain on the MPTF “family” of entertainment workers whose industry was especially hard hit. On and beyond the Wasserman Campus in Woodland Hills, MPTF has been at the heart of an industry that is renowned for being inclusive and caring for its own, with a well-known history of supporting industry members who are retired, elderly, or disabled.
For 100 years, our partners at the MPTF have been renowned for their philanthropic efforts, which are central to the mission. Key to their strategy is extending their reach to the industry members who are facing food insecurity, or those who need extra support as they age in place.
Fredda Johnson, MPTF’s director of community and volunteer engagement knew that it was time to shift course. The need was greater than ever and traditional approaches would no longer hit the mark. First, she worked with her colleagues to measure and address the needs of industry members in the Southern California area. Leveraging their relationships with the relevant locals and guilds, the team identified people in need and asked them about their top challenges: food insecurity, loneliness, anxiety, and lack of funds. Johnson then partnered with Javier Ruelas, Morrison Living’s director of dining services, to create a grocery home-delivery program for those in need outside of the Woodland Hills campus.
Today, a robust and growing army of volunteers deliver groceries weekly to those in need. Volunteers drive to campus, then pop their trunks to receive pre-packed bags of essential groceries for contactless delivery to individuals and families across Los Angeles. The grocery bags include everything from eggs, soup, fresh fruit, and vegetables, to bread and, of course, toilet paper. Around the holidays, groceries include whole turkeys, mashed potatoes, and holiday meal fixings.
To date, the program has delivered more than 1400 grocery bags and given rise to countless touching expressions. One gentleman needed groceries but lived outside the delivery area. Though he was tight on financial resources, he did have some extra time on his hands. So, he offered to come to campus to pick up his own groceries and then volunteered to deliver groceries to others.
This is just one of the ways MPTF and Morrison Living are partnering together to creatively adapt to current needs. Fundraising events that were once glittery in-person events have successfully moved online. MPTF Studios, the campus media center, once the hub of production activity for talented residents, has gone completely online with well-known guest stars and popular online programming (think Jodi Foster hosting game night!). Fredda Johnson marvels at the silver lining, “We’re busier than ever, finding new ways to fulfill our mission. The dining team has helped us meet a substantial need in the community and realize that the more we do, the more we see how much more is possible.”