Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This week, we speak with Will Forté, actor and writer, about his support for Food on Foot and the Stephen J. Wampler Foundation. Food on Foot provides meals, clothing and assistance to poor and homeless people in Los Angeles. The Wampler Foundation provides outdoor wilderness experiences to children with physical disabilities.
Forté was a member of the cast of “Saturday Night Live” for seven years and has appeared in episodes of “30 Rock” and “Parks and Recreation.” His career continues in the movies. He starred in and wrote “MacGruber,” and was also featured in “Baby Mama” and “Beerfest.” He recently moved back to Los Angeles to continue his successful career.
Interview by Anna Wiggin
Q: Why did you choose to volunteer for Food on Foot?
Will Forté: I have a friend, Kate Adler, who is involved in it. She told me a little bit about it, and it sounded like a wonderful program.
Q: What is your roll in the organization?
Will Forté: I am just a donor. I donate money and I have occasionally gone out for feedings as well.
Q: Would you like to explain a little bit more about Food on Foot?
Will Forté: It is an organization that helps homeless people back on their feet. It's kinda the work for the food program. In the beginning, what happens is people who need some help will come and pick up trash and get food coupons in exchange for helping clean up the neighborhood.
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As they start to work their way up they become somebody who is doing a great job. They will become the manager of the different cleanup groups and then will kind of graduate from the program. Even people who are going exceptionally well, Food on Foot will help them find an apartment, help them get job interview and stuff like that. It’s pretty amazing; it helps a lot of people get back on their feet.
Q: How has being an actor benefited your charity work?
Will Forté: I suppose you get to maybe have a platform to promote your philanthropies and your charity work and get the word out.
Q: Why should people support this organization over others?
Will Forté: I don’t know if they should support it over others, there are so many things out there you should support; but you should support something, though! What this organization does, it is hard not to support it.
This guy who started it, Jay Goldinger, I think he just started feeding people out of the back of his car. And now they just had their 800th week anniversary and it’s helped more and more people every year. It is growing but it's still just a pretty small core group of people running the organization. So I guess I would say the more help that they can get financially and just more people who show up and help with the feedings, it will help them help more people.
Q: Do you have anything else to add?
Will Forté: Yes, there is one more organization (the Wampler Foundation)that I really want to tell you about. A guy that I went to high school with, he is an amazing guy, his name is Stephen J. Wampler. And he has cerebral palsy, so he has been in a wheelchair his whole life. He used to go to a camp that is specifically for people in wheelchairs. There aren’t that many opportunities for kids like that to get outdoors. He was able to have pretty awesome adults to fill his self-esteem. This camp did wonders.
When he became an adult he found out that the camp shut down for some reason, so he took it upon himself to get it going again. And somewhere in 2010I believe — keep in mind this guy is bound by a wheelchair — he climbed El Capitan. I think what I heard is it’s the equivalent to doing 20,000 pull-ups, and he did that to get the word out. This is a guy, a pretty inspirational guy. That is another person I want you to deal with. These are two organizations that I feel strongly about.
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