The Story Behind the Story of ‘Gimme Shelter’

Brendan Fraser and Vanessa Hudgens in "Gimme Shelter"
coming to theaters January 24, 2014
Roadside Attractions

When you are a movie star, touring the county promoting your film, it is all in a day’s work. Not so for Kathy DiFiore. While not a movie star in the new film Gimme Shelter, she is very much a part of the film. She’s the inspiration for it.

I met Kathy at a screening of the film in Seattle recently. She came walking into the theater lobby with her hand-held video recorder recording her whole experience. Instead of the talent, she looked more like a tourist. When I asked Kathy if she was familiar with this type of tour she responded, “Are you kidding? Augh! I don’t even know where I am. I wake up and I’m like, what time zone am I in?” This is understandable as she is pretty much a home-body and doesn’t travel much. “I’ve met some wonderful people and I truly wish that I could spend more time with them. In my work, I tend to stay in this one little world, so this is opening it up.”

Kathy DiFiore, Founder of
Several Sources Shelters
Kathy and director Ronald Krauss were on hand for a Q and A with the screening audience on the film Gimme Shelter which opens in theaters nationwide on January 24, 2014. The film tells the story of “Apple” Bailey, a pregnant teenager played by Vanessa Hudgens, and the terrible abuse she received at home before coming to the Several Sources Shelter designed for pregnant teens. It is the shelter that Kathy has been running for over 30 years.

Ronald Krauss, Writer and
Director of "Gimme Shelter."
It is a miracle that this shelter even came about at all. After a difficult divorce, Kathy found herself homeless. Raised as a Catholic, Kathy had good foundation for her faith, but acknowledges that one’s faith deepens when one goes through personal hardship. “When you are at your lowest is when you need God the most. Once I saw that I was getting out on my feet, there wasn’t any pride left in me. Just humility.” Through that humility, Kathy began to see how she could help others by offering to help a sick friend, visiting the men at the New Jersey prison and then her biggest step, allowing four teenage girls to move into her home with their babies. Her life has never been the same since. 

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