The quest to end the hunger epidemic is still a very prominent issue that has yet to be solved.
Through food banks, we as a society get a little closer to providing the solace that families all across the world are pleading for. At the Food Bank for New York City’s 35th annual Can Do Awards, some of the incredible people who partake in contributing to those in need were honored at Cipriani Wall Street. The event was attended by many and gathered amazing celebrities for the cause, making it a memorable night.
In a night that honored Lee Brian Schrager and Bank of America, the awards dinner serves as ”thank you” to those who graciously donate and volunteer at the Food Bank. Artists Salt-N-Pepa then took to the stage to kick off the evening, performing three songs and bringing everyone in the ballroom to their feet. When Schrager came on stage afterward, he refuted the idea of being honored, “To do work, to raise awareness and raise dollars to fight hunger in a city like New York City is not something that should be applauded or recognized at a dinner, I think it’s a calling and an obligation.”
Food Bank President and CEO, Margarette Purvis tearfully spoke about the importance of what it means to give back as well as how in the most simplistic terms, food is not a luxury- and no one should ever have to feel like it is. Telling the story of the hundreds of New Yorkers who were lined up to receive food. The need to help our neighbors was on everybody’s minds and hearts that night. In addition to food, she was very proud to announce that the Food Bank is also now handing out feminine care products. Of the 1.5 million New Yorkers who rely on Food banks, most are women and children. “Thank you for answering our call,” Purvis said, “we may not have a fancy hashtag but our movement is real.”
Riverdale star Casey Cott spoke to us about the importance of giving back, “Anyone who is trying to help people that are starving is an amazing thing, it’s very simple and I’m lucky to be here”. In a city as liberal as New York City, it’s hard to believe that budget cuts and no federal aid would lead to so much hunger. Food bank for New York City has provided more than 1 billion meals to New Yorkers in need, and that’s a statistic that just keeps increasing with the support the nonprofit is given. In New York alone 1 in 5 of our children relies on soup kitchen and pantries. In the ages where they should be focused on school and homework, where their next meal comes from shouldn’t have to be the biggest problem in their lives. “I’m a chef in New York City and you gotta help out our neighbors,” said Chopped judge Marc Murphy,”if our neighbors need a little help to make it, we should be there for them”.
The evening’s Event Chairs were Scott R. Feldman and Jodisue Rosen with Honorary Chairs Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. Other notable attendees included: Ted Allen, Kelsey Asbille, David Burtka, Casey Cott, Elvis Duran, Caitlin FitzGerald, Savannah Guthrie, Kristine Froseth, David Lauren, Lauren Bush Lauren, Chris Lowell, Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, Marc Murphy, Alysia Reiner, Theodora Richards, Rosanna Scotto and others.
The night also included live auctioning on items such as a luxury suite at the upcoming Yankee game and a trip to Paris, graciously donated by Delta Airlines. Encouraged to cheer whenever we saw a paddle go up, the crowd would erupt in screams and claps as the bidding increased. At one point someone bid 28,000 dollars for the stay at the Le Bristol hotel in Paris. It was great to see the enthusiastic crowd getting excited about raising money. By the end of the extensive auction people had donated a total of $400,000 that night. All in one night, people were able to raise enough to put a plate in front of and a smile on thousands. But that’s not all, it was later revealed that Bank of America donated the largest corporate investment to date in the form of $1 million dollars! “If you donate to them, your money goes so directly to where it’s needed,” said Orange is the New Black star, Alysia Reiner,”One dollar, five meals”. For more information on how you can get involved and donate visit foodbanknyc.org.
Photo credit: Dimitrios Kambouris and Bryan Bedder/Getty