We’re very excited to announce the newest AFFIRM Originals movie, “5000 Blankets,” will be streaming exclusively on Pure Flix starting January 5, 2023. Inspired by the true story of Cyndi Bunch (played by Anna Camp) and her son, the film journeys through the events that led them to start their non-profit, Phillip’s Wish.
“I hope that people see this film and stop for a moment and think about what other people are going through. And realize that you can make a difference, even if it’s just saying hello to someone. I think we have a tendency to be so self involved and I hope that this movie inspires people to give back,” actress Anna Camp said.
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There are many beautiful and encouraging messages in this film, as it covers a variety of themes that are very relatable. We wanted to take a moment to share what we hope you’ll take away from the film when it comes to Pure Flix:
Take Notice of Those Around You
After Cydni’s husband disappears from their home, Cyndi and Phillip search for him in the homeless community in their city of Fort Worth, Texas. These trips cause them to become more aware of those in need around them, particularly the homeless, whom they never paid much attention to before. It opens their eyes to see what they’ve always taken advantage of, such as a warm bed to sleep in and food every day, that others may not always have access to.
These experiences opened their hearts to notice everyone’s needs and not just their own. Cyndi and Phillip’s awareness of the needs of the less fortunate is what sparks the start of their charity work.
Jesus asks us, too, to be aware of those in need around us and acknowledge that they, too, are God’s people. During His public ministry, there are many times when He gives sinners, those ostracized from the community, the time, care and love they usually don’t receive from their peers. He opens His heart and makes room for theirs, acknowledging their presence and value.
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We can definitely see this in Jesus’ public ministry when He dined with the sinners and the beggars. He willfully comes in contact with the lepers, the tax collectors, the outcasts and those shunned by their own communities. In these interactions, Jesus shows His disciples that it wasn’t only the Jewish people who belong to God, but that everyone from all walks of life are God’s people.
St. Paul summarizes this in his letter to the Galatians:
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28 (NIV)
Treat Everyone with Love and Kindness
Once Cyndi and Phillip begin to notice the needs of those less fortunate and their entire community, they learn to treat everyone they encounter with kindness and compassion, understanding the fact that everyone may be going through a trial they might not be aware of.
Knowing this, they form an unlikely friendship, befriending one of the local homeless women to learn more about the community’s needs and how they can help. In return, Delia expresses her gratitude, as she feels seen and loved with their friendship.
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Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:40 (NIV) how to live out loving our neighbor:
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Cyndi and Phillip learn how to better love their neighbor, opening their hearts and minds to accept others and acknowledge their struggles. By giving their time, treasure and talent to make others’ lives better, they discover how to love others with open hearts and open arms and help meet their needs.
Jesus talks about this very principle in the Gospel of Matthew, continuing from the earlier verse:
'For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. – Matthew 25:41-45 (NIV)
Small Acts Can Make a Big Difference
Cyndi and Phillip first realize the impact they can make after they gave one homeless woman, Delia, a blanket to stay warm during cold nights.
Delia summarized how important their work was when she told Phillip, “You spend enough time out on the streets, you realize a blanket is more than a blanket.”
Once they saw the joy and gratitude she had for this small act, it sparked the idea to collect more blankets to donate and give to those in need. As word spread about their work, they got more donations and were able to make a bigger impact on the homeless population in their community. Truly, Cyndi and Phillip saw firsthand the fruits of their labors.
READ ALSO: 25 DAILY ACTS OF KINDNESS
The Bible tells us that God sees our labors, even if we cannot see their fruits, or the impact they might have on others:
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)
Beyond the scope of their charity work, Cyndi and Phillip also saw the impact their words and actions had on other people around them. Phillip learns to be kind to the boy who bullies him at school with both his words and his actions. This small shift in his attitude opened the eyes of his adversary. Phillip’s actions caused a ripple effect. We, too, can make a difference with small shifts in our thoughts, words and actions.
Parents Can Learn from Their Kids, Too
After Cydni’s husband leaves, she is left to raise Phillip alone. While she grapples with understanding what happened with her husband, she also has to juggle being attentive to Phillip and his needs as her child. At first, Cyndi appears wrapped up in her own trials and sadness to grasp anything going on outside her own world. But as she spends more time with Phillip, she starts to look outside herself to see how his dad leaving affected Phillip. Cyndi starts to realize she can learn from his courage, positivity and hopefulness amidst their strife.
It reminds us of how Mary was also open to learning from Jesus, regardless of the situation:
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. – Luke 2:19 (NIV)
As a parent, Cydni doesn’t close off the opportunity to learn from her son, nor does she condemn it. She stays open and willing to make parenting a two-way street as she navigates their newly-formed family unit as simply mother and son. She allows Phillip to be his own person and pursue his dreams rather than trying to force him into any type of ideal she had for him.
When Phillip brings up the idea of collecting blankets for the homeless, Cyndi doesn’t laugh, say it’s impossible, or belittle his request. She takes it seriously. She acknowledges that she doesn’t have all the answers for Phillip, which shows humility as a parent, and that she’s willing to work with him in this endeavor.
READ ALSO: HOW TO EMBRACE OUR IDENTITY AS CHILD OF GOD WITH THESE BIBLE VERSES
Cydni becomes a steward in Phillip’s development, rather than just an authoritarian figure. Parenting is also a learning experience for the parents themselves if they open their hearts to understand their children’s unique talents and allow them to explore their own viewpoints. Cydni’s actions remind us of the Bible verse:
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
We hope these takeaways inspire you to watch “5000 Blankets” when it streams exclusively on Pure Flix on January 5, 2023. This movie will encourage you to become more aware of how you treat others around you and take a good look at the relationship you have with your children. While you wait for the film, we encourage you to watch “Tulsa,” “Birdie,” “Legacy Peak,” and “Moonrise” right here on Pure Flix!