The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina is the state's oldest and largest food charity, providing emergency assistance to the poor in 34 counties from Virginia to South Carolina. While the long-established organization has an extensive fund-raising apparatus, its public relations coordinator, Alison Kramer, felt that more was needed to raise awareness of the Food Bank's mission.
Last spring, when she saw Something So Beautiful--a film produced for Interact of Wake County, a domestic violence center--a light went on. Kramer made inquiries, and soon she and the Anoroc Agency, a Raleigh ad firm, were working on a film about the plight of the poor in Eastern North Carolina. The result is I'm a Stranger Here, a half-hour film that throws the spotlight on representative families who've received badly needed assistance from the Food Bank.
A Wendell woman, clinging to the precipice of solvency, explains how her stable family existence vanished when her husband stopped coming home. After the car and the house were taken, and after the food stamps ran out, the Food Bank was there. An older Latino couple and a young African-American salesman and father offer their own testimonials.
Kramer's biggest coup, perhaps, was persuading bluesman George Higgs, a Tarboro resident, to provide the music, including the song that gives the film its title. As it turns out, Higgs and his wife had received their own help from the Food Bank after they lost their home to Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
I'm a Stranger Here receives its premiere this Thursday, Nov. 18 at the Rialto Theater, 1620 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh. Opening remarks and a short musical set by George Higgs begin at 7:00 p.m. The film screens at 7:45 and 8:45.