Raw footage for the award-winning series The 90's. Videomaker Esti Marpet visits God's Love We Deliver, a charity group that delivers meals to home-bound patients with AIDS and other debilitating diseases. Marpet spends most of the tape in the kitchen interviewing staff members about how the organization functions and about their connections to the cause. There is also a lengthy interview with a current client of the organization and one the co-founders, Ganga Stone, who talks about how she founded the organization.
00:00Copy video clip URL The tape begins inside the kitchen, where steel cookware hangs from numerous shelving units. The walls are decorated with humorous drawings, pictures, and recipes. A volunteer washes a few large pots and pans.
01:08Copy video clip URL Videomaker Esti Marpet speaks with one of the cooks, Alex, as she prepares a meal for transport. Alex goes over the cooking and packaging process. “Our volunteers are very important to us and we usually have a great time. It’s like a challenge, you know? How can we get the meal out today?” Alex goes on to talk about her work for the organization. She has lost eight friends to AIDS in the past and felt the need to offer her services for the cause. “It’s not just me, but people who have friends who have died–you just feel frustrated because there’s really not very much you can do and so this kind of makes you feel good… You know, you feel like you’re doing something to help people.” Alex then goes on to talk about how the executive chef creates the menu. The group focuses on high caloric content in the food so that the patients can be fully nourished.
07:40Copy video clip URL Paul, the Head Chef at God’s Love We Deliver, begrudgingly talks about his involvement with the organization but remains focused on cooking the meal for the evening. He eventually talks about the work behind making special meals for clients with certain dietary needs. Many of the volunteers at this organization seem hesitant to share their feelings about the work on camera and remain fairly distant throughout the tape.
10:49Copy video clip URL Paul talks about his previous work as a stage manager and how he ended up working at God’s Love We Deliver: “I got into this line working as a private chef in a household with several persons dying of AIDS and I like the work, I don’t really know what I’m going to do, but if I’m not doing something for people I’m not doing anything worthwhile. So, it’s what I gotta do.”
12:40Copy video clip URL Marpet begins to speak with Gary, a chef who had just arrived for the day. She then gathers footage of the chefs hard at work preparing the food. Paul talks about the roles of the volunteers.
16:22Copy video clip URL Gary talks about becoming involved with the organization and working his way up to Chief of Operations. “Well, it was less the chiefing than the work that we’re doing. Helping people is very important to me, and especially our clients.” Alex and another fellow volunteers package soup for delivery.
17:54Copy video clip URL Marpet speaks with Enid about her work with the organization. When asked what she gets out of the work, Enid responds, “Satisfaction. It’s a good feeling to know you’re helping somebody who can’t help themselves.” This is followed by more footage from around the kitchen, lasting for several minutes.
21:32Copy video clip URL One of the drivers begins to package some soup for later delivery. This lasts for a few minutes.
23:45Copy video clip URL While packaging salads, Chef Gary talks about some of the relationships he has developed with clients of God’s Love We Deliver. He tries to avoid making friends with clients, but there are other volunteers who make developing relationships with the clients an important part of their work. As Gary continues to talk about his views on the subject, Chef Paul interjects to say he just received a call from a friend of a client who had passed away. Paul’s remark is a reminder why some volunteers are hesitant to develop relationships with the clients. Marpet then continues to gather footage of the kitchen.
27:28Copy video clip URL Marpet gathers footage of a volunteer packing soup for later delivery. Marpet tries to converse with the woman, but she remains distant. We eventually end up back in the kitchen watching as Paul begins to cook a vegetarian meal for two clients with special needs. More volunteers arrive in the kitchen to package another meal. This lasts for several minutes.
35:35Copy video clip URL A volunteer packages apple sauce for diabetic clients. The volunteer talks about the the clients and their appreciation of the food. “A lot of these people have lost tremendous amounts of weight as a result of AIDS and we fatten them up. It’s our business and they enjoy the food so their appetites are coming back, some of them mostly.” Chef Paul purees a meal for a few special needs clients.
38:56Copy video clip URL Client Services Manager Jim talks about his role in the organization. He explains that he must meet with every client before they can begin to receive meals. Jim determines if the potential clients are eligible for the program and whether they have dietary restrictions that the organization cannot meet. Jim states that once he meets with a client, that person can begin to receive meals the very next day, two days at most. Jim then talks about how he became involved with the organization. He began as a volunteer and after a few years became a staff member. “I guess the main reward for this work is knowing that it makes a difference to a person whose health is compromised, to receive some attention and in this case a good hot meal, and having seen at least some people become well enough to return to work and get off of the program has given me some hope that this can be dealt with, the AIDS crisis if you will. That’s satisfaction enough.”
42:03Copy video clip URL Cut to outside the building as volunteers begin to load the food into vans. Marpet speaks with a driver about his route. “I start here in Manhattan then I go to Jersey, then I go to Staten Island, then I come back into Brooklyn, and I finish up in Manhattan.”
44:28Copy video clip URL Chef Paul explains that they have run out of meatloaf and that they’ll have to make thirty-three new meals from other food cooked and frozen earlier in the week.
45:27Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of a client of God’s Love We Deliver in her home. She talks about her experience living with the AIDS virus. “By now I would say that there is a cure for AIDS which I have found… The cure is that if you can find something that’s more important to you than yourself… that means caring about something more than you care for your own person and when you find that, that puts you on a whole different level… So I would say that’s the cure: that you get to a point in your own development, your own self-development, where you care for something more than you care for your own personal self. It’s not as important. It diminishes, and that’s the cure.” She then states that God’s Love We Deliver is a wonderful example of love. While she waits for her meal, she talks about her diet and her love for the organization’s desserts.
54:00Copy video clip URL The woman says she contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion in the 1980s, and advocates a cure for the mental strain the illness can cause. She also talks about the the philosophical aspects of overcoming the AIDS virus. She had written a book about how people with debilitating diseases can overcome them through dance. She talks about the spiritual aspect of her work. “As a dancer, you know that when you’re dancing sometimes something takes over and you know that that’s more than what you can do. You know that there’s something happening.” The woman states that she doesn’t have time to grieve for herself any more because of her need to put others before herself. “There’s no room for poor me in it. There are too many other things happening to people all over this planet that you just can say ‘why did this have to happen to me.’ There’s too much going on to do that.”
59:56Copy video clip URL When asked how she adopted this type of thinking, the woman responds, “Because there isn’t anything else. There’s no cure. You don’t have any other resources and after you’ve used them all up–people are very well meaning, but they can’t give you what you need ultimately. You have to find it yourself and the thing is it’s there, once you start looking–once you have to look. And I think sometimes we’re presented with these situations in order to have to find something because you can’t do anything else. And then you find that you get answer–that something is there which you never thought was true.” She goes on to say, “There is something in every human being who knows that there is something inside themselves and some part of that self knows that there’s more.”
01:01:15Copy video clip URL When asked how she found out about God’s Love We Deliver, the woman states that she heard about it through a hospital. She talks about the reasons for the name of the organization and why it is so fitting. “When they come up the stairs, when the volunteers, and they are–they’re all volunteers and several of them have been young men who have then found themselves diagnosed and unable to go on, and they go through all of those initial stages of difficulty. But they come up and they–they’re still doing something for someone else and in that way, it helps them, and well that’s what they do. The title is very apt.” She then explains her reasons for giving the interview. “I want to be able to say that this could happen to anyone and that the only solution there is in in the name itself: aid–to help. And it has brought out the best in people that I’ve ever seen in my whole life.” After the interview, the woman and one of the volunteers embrace and share a few kind words.
01:05:18Copy video clip URL Marpet interviews God’s Love We Deliver co-founder Ganga Stone who talks about the how she founded the organization. Stone explains that through her work as a hospice volunteer, she encountered an AIDS stricken individual who was completely confined to his bed. He had no food or money in his home and had researched every resource in New York City hoping to find an organization that would provide him with a hot meal. He ultimately came up short. “The sight of that was so riveting for me that I felt that there was not anything more important, any more important situation for me to attempt to remedy ever in my life than the situation of dying and starving in combination and unable to do anything about providing food for one’s self.”
01:07:13Copy video clip URL Stone says the organization has never had to turn away a client, and talks about their current fundraising efforts and the philosophy behind the organization. “The teachings that inform this work are basically found in every spiritual tradition and that is that it’s a very holy and important thing to do to feed people… So our desire is really to offer concrete evidence of God’s love for people in the form of a meal–not a message, but a meal–and we say the meal is the message and in that way to convey to people that they are worthy to be loved by God.” When talking about the name of the organization, Stone says that “the name chose me.” She hopes for a reorganization of people’s priorities in the next decade. “I believe there’s a great hunger for meaningful life, you know, and I think that we’re going to see a great deal of realignment of people’s priorities in the nineties as we recognized that we exhausted sort of all of the other possibilities in the seventies and eighties, and a life of service is a life of joy. There is no question about it.”
01:11:04Copy video clip URL Stone thinks the most important aspect of the work of the organization is love: “The clients tell us that it’s the love. They say the food is very important but without the love, it would be meaningless and I guess what I want to say is that the people who give their time to make it possible for those three hundred clients in all the boroughs to be fed every day by
1:00Copy video clip URL or 1:30,
2:00Copy video clip URL at the latest–those volunteers meet the clients with so much love that it’s uplifting to the client and that’s our intention.” Stone then shares her feelings about the afterlife and her involvement in the organization. Stone misses personally giving meals to clients and she hopes to get more involved with the ground-level work through a new program for children living in welfare hotels.
01:13:30Copy video clip URL Stone talks about the influx of people from the private sector coming to work for the organization and relates it back to the realignment of priorities in society.
01:14:41Copy video clip URL Tape ends.