Drew Carey’s generous gesture of goodwill is spreading.
Not long after SAG unanimously voted to join the WGA on the picket lines — bringing Hollywood to a halt with the first dual strike since 1960 — veteran SAG member (and Pulitzer Prize finalist) Kristina Wong thought of the Price Is Right host, as Carey had pledged to keep his wallet open and cover meals for WGA scribes at Bob’s Big Boy and Swingers for the duration of the strike.
Wong figured it was a pipe dream for anyone to support actors in such a way (SAG has 160,000 members compared to WGA’s 11,500), “because we would bankrupt them, but I love that Drew Carey did that.” Still, she had a hunch that pal Glen Curtado at World Harvest Food Bank might be able to help those struggling with food insecurity.
“He immediately responded, ‘Let’s do the whole system with a big cart of groceries for free until the end of the strike as long as they need it,” Wong recalls. (World Harvest typically offers clients a cart full of groceries in exchange for a $55 donation or four hours of volunteer work.)
She reiterated that World Harvest relies on donations to help cover the operating costs so they are hoping 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 organizing themed events and lining the sidewalks with food and refreshments. “That signified a moment where solidarity mattered. We have to figure out how to take care of each other.”
Reached by phone on Wednesday, Curado tells THR that since he started 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 is so amazing,” he says. “I’ve been in the same situation myself. There was a time, for a year and a half, when I was on welfare. It’s not a proud moment and it was a very humbling moment.”
With four children to feed at the time, Curado says he and his family were forced to be resourceful and find food any way that they could. “Luckily, we lived two blocks from Costco, and guess where our dinners came from? The free samples inside the store.”
Since he’s come face to face with so many insiders in need these past few weeks, Curado says he’s seen how dire the situation is for so many. “Half of these strikers are walking out of the store with tears in their eyes. They are about to lose their homes and their cars, and this makes it so they don’t have to worry about how they are going to eat as well,” he explains, making sure to add that the facility is not funded through grants or government assistance. “We rely on the generosity of people. If they want to donate, they can find us online at World Harvest Food Bank, and I wish more people with resources like myself would actually step up to the plate. It’s very simple.”
This story first appeared in the July 26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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