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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

First Person: Charity

I saw it coming.  Yesterday, I predicted a holiday charity story in my future.  The prediction came true.

I was assigned to to a Thanksgiving food distribution for families in need.  United Neighborhood Centers and volunteerts provided the heavy lifting.  Much of the donated food came from WNEP's Feed a Friend program.  The distribution point was a church on Madison Avenue in Scranton.

Photographer Dave and I arrived around 10 AM.  We found a line in front of the church, people braving a November wind to get a little holiday help.  We approached a few for interviews.  They declined.  I explained that our photography would be done from behind, and much of it below the waist.  We were not out to wound anyone's dignity.
It was an amazing sight inside the church.  Mounds of turkeys, boxes of foods, and an army of volunteers to make sure everyone had what they needed.  Many of the volunteers were school kids.  They lugged the food out to cars, and never complained.
We eventually found a couple of people willing to share their stories.  Interviews.  Video.  Back out to the truck to write, edit, and microwave the completed package back to the office for playback on Newswatch 16 at Noon.  We then set up the camera and I stepped in front of it, ready for a live intro and close.

There was an issue.  President Obama and the president of France were speaking.  ABC News aired a special report, and it ate up all our news time.  We were told to stay hot until 12:30, in case the special report ended, and we had a little time left for news.  It didn't happen.  It was frustrating.  We had a good story to tell, but world events are also important.  I get it.

The story aired in the afternoon.  Thanks to those who made it happen.

One of the reasons I got into the business was to help people.  I hope we did okay, exposing poverty issues, showing people were there to make life a little easier.

Happy Thanksgiving.