Where do film, family, and fun come together at Austin’s coolest outdoor movie venue? At Community Cinema. Here’s everything you need to know about attending a FREE movie night at Community First! Village.
It’s no secret that Austin has a large homeless population–approximately 2,000 individuals by some estimates. Local non-profit Mobile Loaves & Fishes, whose name you may recognize from their fleet of food trucks, is working to shrink that number through their development of the Community First! Village, which offers affordable, permanent housing for the chronically homeless. Residents can choose from one of three housing options–micro-homes, RVs, and canvas-sided cottages–and pay affordable monthly rent for a fully-furnished dwelling to call home. There are currently 80 residents but, when complete (in mid- to late 2017), Phase 1 of the development will house 250 individuals–reducing homelessness in our city by roughly 10%!
But it’s about more than house. It’s about building community. According to Mobile Loaves & Fishes, the most common cause of homelessness is catastrophic loss of family. Community First! Village strives to create an environment where the homeless can heal, grow in hope, and restore their dignity. Residents have on-site access to behavioral health case managers; primary healthcare services; home hospice and respite care; micro-enterprise business opportunities; places for worship, study, and fellowship; and community gardens. All of these resources are provided within a supportive community built on relationships. Those relationships are not exclusive to the residents, however. They extend to the larger Austin community, as well.
I know what you’re thinking… “I’m part of that larger community. How do I get involved?” There are lots of volunteer opportunities available at Community First! for individuals and groups. You could register for a Saturday tour to get an up close and personal look at the development. But the easiest, and probably most fun, way is to attend a FREE movie night at the village. Mobile Loaves & Fishes, in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse, is hosting Community Cinema screenings at the Community First! Village amphitheater.
My family attended Back to the Future back in the fall and we had a blast! We arrived early so we had plenty of time to wander through the village, which is open to the public on movie nights for self-guided tours. My big-hearted 9 year-old son was moved by everything he saw there. There’s a playground! There’s a dog park! There’s a library! There’s an art studio! There’s a garden! He was so excited to see the amenities available to the residents and became convinced that he could build and donate his own tiny house. After our tour, we goofed off with some fun movie-inspired costumes, filled our bellies with popcorn and candy from the concession stand, and settled in for the movie. The crowd was an eclectic mix of super-friendly folks–families, singles, residents, and volunteers–all gathered to enjoy a little 80s nostalgia.
The first Community Cinema screening of the spring season is this Friday, March 3, featuring The Incredibles. Arrive early with your blankets and chairs (bug spray, closed-toed shoes, and flashlights are recommended, too) to stake out your spot before exploring Community First! Don’t miss the Community Market, where residents sell the beautiful art and handcrafted products they make in the Village’s various micro-enterprise programs. Snacks and drinks will be available for purchase (cash preferred) at the concession stand, where residents will be working to earn a modest living income. The event is FREE but a $5 donation is suggested.
2017 Community Cinema Spring Schedule:
- Friday, March 3 at 6:00 p.m. – The Incredibles (PG) RSVP
- Friday, March 10 at 6:00 p.m. – The Dark Knight (PG-13) RSVP
- Friday, March 17 at 7:00 p.m. – Superman (PG) RSVP
- Friday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. – Big Hero 6 (PG) RSVP
- Friday, March 31 at 7:00 p.m. – Captain America: Civil War (PG-13) RSVP
- Friday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. – The Wizard of Oz (NR) RSVP
- Friday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. – The Passion of the Christ (R) RSVP
- Friday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. – Avatar (PG-13) RSVP
- Friday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. – Gladiator (R) RSVP
Please note: not all features will be appropriate for young children.
Community First! Village
9301 Hog Eye Rd
Austin, TX 78724