Christopher Ludgate’s short documentary “With Love” (his second film after the 2010 satire “The Love Permit”) is a look at the New York City non profit God’s Love We Deliver. The organization cooks and delivers nutritious meals to those living with severe illness and was founded in 1986 to address the needs of those living with HIV/AIDS when New York City was arguably the epicenter of the outbreak.
As a longtime volunteer, Ludgate narrates the film and provides a vérité look into the inner workings. The program is run by 7600 employee and volunteer chefs, organizers, and runners who personally deliver meals to all those in need. Running up the steps of a New York City walkup in the summer months can be grueling, but the volunteers look energized by the fact that they are doing such a necessary good. There are many sentiments echoed in the stories told by the workers. Several began by volunteering one day a week and are now full time. They seem genuinely fulfilled and can’t bear to leave when there is still work to be done.
The doc finds the program in better shape than ever. With treatment of HIV/AIDS improving everyday, the program has now branched out to help anyone with a terminal illness. They have moved into a new state of the art facility in SoHo. They march in the Gay Pride parade the year marriage equality becomes the law of the land. Joan Rivers, who was one of their most outspoken proponents, helps them celebrate as they prepare their 15 millionth meal.
The most important takeaway from the documentary is that while it’s easy to look at an overwhelming problem like HIV/AIDS and feel helpless, there are very simple things to be done and volunteer programs like With God’s Love that you can donate a few hours of your week to and make a real difference. These programs were a grassroots response to the fact that the government and NYC mayor Ed Koch ignored the AIDS epidemic in the early 80s. The film is a reaffirmation of the good that can be done when people act with love instead of cynicism.
Anyone interested in more information about God’s Love We Deliver can visit their website @ https://www.glwd.org