“When I begin any project, I ask myself over and over...what if,” says Whitney in an email. The Dallas-based entrepreneur came with the idea for A Play for Food two years ago, after the release of his first novel, Thanksgiving at the Inn
“I was amazed and humbled by the impact the eclectic characters had on people’s lives. They are larger-than-life figures that each teach an important life lesson. I asked myself... what if these amazing characters could be on stage? Once the play was done, I began realizing it is a story of family and forgiveness. There was no way I could charge a royalty for the use,” he continues.
Whitney decided to use theatre to create what he hopes will become the largest food drive in America. A Play for Food would serve as a ‘clearing house’ for playwrights and theatres willing to donate all ticket proceeds from plays to local food pantries. “This is a grassroots effort to unite communities in a time of need,” he says.
Since October 2011, A Play for Food has already put seven plays, including a musical from a retired Canadian broadcaster and an adaptation of Whitney’s novel. Thanksgiving at the Inn
will make its worldwide debut on Sunday, November 20, 2011
, at Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine. Cash and food donations will be accepted.
“I am currently working with two local pantries but ideally I will seek out pantries in the communities where the play is being put on,” Whitney adds. “If communities unite, it should be to help their neighbors directly. In the case of Cheverus High School, they have annual turkey drives and all donations for my play will go to their initiative.”
On November 19, Whitney will be in Dallas for a book signing and fundraiser
in support of two local food pantries (North Dallas Food Bank and Minnie's Food Pantry). He hopes he can raise $1,000 to buy 3,000 meals for the hungry.
Whitney’s efforts seem to have caught the attention of many:
“So far the response has been overwhelming and I am getting local pantries involved, am being contacted by theaters and playwrights daily, and am hopeful that I can add local and national sponsors in the near future where 100% of the proceeds will go to local pantries.”
For more information on A Play for Food, visit http://www.aplayforfood.org
and / or http://www.facebook.com/APlayforfood