Drew Carey’s generous goodwill gesture is spreading.
Not long after the SAG voted unanimously to join the WGA on the pickets, halting Hollywood with the first double strike since 1960, longtime SAG member (and Pulitzer Prize finalist) Kristina Wong thought about the The price is correct host, as Carey had vowed to keep her wallet open and cover WGA scribes’ meals at Bob’s Big Boy and Swingers during the strike.
Wong thought it was a pipe dream for anyone to support actors like that (SAG has 160,000 members compared to WGA’s 11,500), “because we’d bankrupt them, but I love that Drew Carey did that.” Still, he had a feeling that his friend Glen Curtado of the World Harvest Food Bank could help those struggling with food insecurity.
“He immediately responded: ‘Let’s do the whole system with a free big cart of groceries until the end of the strike, whenever they need it,’ Wong recalls. (World Harvest typically offers customers a cart full of groceries in exchange for a $55 donation or four hours of volunteer work.)
He reiterated that World Harvest relies on donations to help cover operating costs, so they hope donors can pitch in to help bridge the gap. Aside from Carey, Wong says she was inspired to get involved after seeing how WGA members responded when their strike was called by hosting themed events and blanketing sidewalks with food and refreshments. “That marked a time when solidarity mattered. We have to figure out how to take care of each other.”
Contacted by phone on Wednesday, Curado says THR that since it began offering free groceries to those on strike, World Harvest Food Bank has opened its doors, on average, to 150-200 writers and actors per day. “It’s so amazing,” she says. “I myself have been in the same situation. There was a time, for a year and a half, when I was on welfare. It is not a moment of pride and it was a moment of great humility.”
With four children to feed at the time, Curado says he and his family were forced to be resourceful and find food any way they could. “Luckily, we lived two blocks from Costco, and guess where our dinners came from? Free samples inside the store.
Having come face to face with so many people in need in recent weeks, Curado says he has seen how dire the situation is for many. “Half of these strikers leave the store with tears in their eyes. They are about to lose their homes and their cars, and this means they don’t have to worry about how they are going to eat, too,” he explains, making sure to add that the facility is not funded through grants or government assistance. “We trust in the generosity of the people. If you want to donate, you can find us online at World Harvest Food Bank, and I wish more resourceful people like me would really step up. It is very simple.”
This story first appeared in the July 26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here for subscribe.