WQPT will broadcast 'Poor Kids' on Wednesday

Posted Online: Dec. 01, 2012, 11:21 pm
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By Jonathan Turner jturner@qconline.com

The PBS Frontline documentary on child poverty in the region will be shown on WQPT, the Quad-Cities PBS affiliate, at 10 p.m. Wednesday.

The hour-long documentary, "Poor Kids USA," debuted nationally on Nov. 20, including on Iowa Public Television, but not Moline-based WQPT. A film crew spent eight months earlier this year in the area, following three families who live in poverty.

"Poor Kids" offers a perspective on the nation's flagging economy and impact of unemployment, foreclosure, homelessness and financial distress as seen through the eyes of kids.

"We thought it was a beautiful, quality piece. We see the world of poverty every day,"Holly Nomura, development director for the local Salvation Army, said of the film. One of the featured families lives at the Salvation Army family services shelter in downtown Davenport.

"We're so glad people have a little bit more of an understanding of what it's like to be poor, especially from a child's point of view," Ms. Nomura said of "Poor Kids."

"I think it will influence giving. We're a safety net for families that have nowhere else to go. The family that lives at the shelter (in the film), the father has a part-time job, and other families have called wanting to help the young boy."

"The response has been pretty big on a national level," said Caren Laughlin, marketing director of Riverbend Food Bank in Moline, who worked with director Jezza Neumann to produce the film.

"They set up a fund for the children, and they've had quite a bit of response. The impact I would like to see this film have is people would support their local Salvation Army, their local food banks. I believe that is going to happen."

Riverbend -- which distributes about 500,000 pounds every month in a 22-county area -- has seen an increase in donations over the past 10 days, Ms. Laughlin said. "There's no doubt we have had extra donations that can be directly attributed to the film.

"Iknow a lot of people were interested in helping the three families they saw," she said. "That probably is going to happen."

More than 1,500 people nationally have made donations to the fund Mr. Neumann's company set up for the families at http://truevisiontv.com/poor-kids-fund.

At this time of year, Riverbend sees "somuch phenomenal support from the community" on a regular basis, so the extra can only help more people, Ms. Laughlin said.

Riverbend's "backpack" nutrition program in area schools is featured in the documentary, and there is a need greater than what the food bank currently supplies to 1,400 students in 30 schools, she said.

Ms. Nomura of the Salvation Army said it's "too early" to tell if the film has affected giving to the annual Red Kettle Campaign, which has a goal of $725,000 by Jan. 15. Donations currently are on pace to meet the goal, she said.

The organization typically gets more donations closer to Christmas, when more people are out shopping, Ms. Nomura said.

To donate to Salvation Army, call 1 (800) SAL-ARMY, or visit salvationarmyusa.org, and all money received will go to the local Salvation Army.

To donate food toRiverbend Food Bank, visit 309 12th St., Moline, or make a contribution at riverbendfoodbank.org.

"Poor Kids USA" (which is similar to a documentary Mr. Neumann made last year in the United Kingdom)can be viewed atpbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline. There are hundreds of comments about the film from Nov. 20 and 21 at facebook.com/FRONTLINE.

Mr. Neumann has made documentaries about troubled children all over the world, including China, Tibet, Zimbabwe and Gaza.

He has been named one of the United Kingdom's top 10 directors by Broadcast Magazine, and a version of "Poor Kids USA" with added footage from San Francisco will be shown in the U.K. in early 2013.


Local events heading

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1889 — 125 years ago: J.B. Lidders, past captain of Beardsley Camp, Sons of Veterans, returned from Paterson, N.Y., where he attended the National Sons of Veterans encampments.
1914 — 100 years ago: President Wilson announced that he had received from the imperial chancellor of Germany a noncommittal reply to his inquiry into a report that the emperor was willing to discuss terms of peace.
1939 — 75 years ago: Delegates at the Illinois Conference of the Methodist Church in Springfield voted to raise the minimum pay of ministers so that every pastor would get at least $1,000 annually.
1964 — 50 years ago: An audience of more than 2,600 persons jammed into the Davenport RKO Orpheum theater with a shoe horn feasted on a Miller-Diller evening that was a killer night. Phyllis Diller sent the audience with her offbeat humor. And send them she did! It was Miss Diller's third appearance in the Quad-Cities area.
1989 — 25 years ago: A few years ago, a vacant lot on 7th Avenue and 14th Street in Rock Island was a community nuisance. Weeds grew as high 18 inches. Today, the lot has a new face, thanks to Michael and Sheila Rind and other neighbors who helped them turn it into a park three weeks ago.

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