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Former “Sopranos” star and longtime film actor Joe Pantoliano is kicking off his awareness campaign of such often isolating mental illnesses as anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression and bipolar disorder with a fundraiser today at The Food Emporium’s flagship Bridgemarket Store in New York.
At the May 3 event, which will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Pantoliano will meet and greet shoppers; sign autographs; preside over a pasta sampling featuring his new line of sauces, Pepe and Pants; and discuss his new documentary, “No Kidding, Me Too!” The film follows several people living with various forms of what Pantoliano refers to as brain “dis-ease” — including the actor himself, who was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2006.
Pantoliano’s charitable organization, also called No Kidding, Me Too! (NKM2) aims to remove the stigma often associated with such conditions through education and the breaking down of societal barriers. The foundation’s stated goal is “to empower those with brain dis-ease to admit their illness, seek treatment and become even greater members of society.”
NKM2 has teamed up with the Montvale, N.J.-based Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.’s supermarket banners to conduct a cash register fundraiser to collect funds to support the foundation. The fundraiser, which runs through May 23, invites customers to give $1 at checkout. Additionally, proceeds from the sale of Pepe and Pants sauces will go directly to NKM2.