I recently heard a great, goose bump story of generosity. A friend attended a birthday party at which many speeches were given. In gratitude for the kind sentiments bestowed on her, the birthday girl stood up and said that for every person who made a speech, she would make a contribution to the charity of their choice. How outrageously fabulous is that?
One of the things that makes life so great is balance. So, amidst all of the Fashion Week fun, I thought I’d share the story of a great organization doing tremendous things in New York: God’s Love We Deliver.
The mission of God’s Love We Deliver is to improve the health and well-being of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition.
They prepare and deliver nutritious, high-quality meals to people who, because of their illness, are unable to provide or prepare meals for themselves. They also provide illness-specific nutrition education and counseling to their clients, families, care providers and other service organizations.
God’s Love We Deliver started, as some of the most brilliant programs do, by seeing a hole and filling it.
In 1985, a hospice volunteer named Ganga Stone paid a visit to an AIDS patient that changed her life. The patient, Richard Sayles, was too ill to cook for himself. Ganga’s compassion took hold, a meal was prepared and delivered on the next visit, and an epiphany was born: Something as basic as delivering a meal could bring dignity and recognition to a desperate situation. How amazing and true is this?!?
Ganga’s experience then drove her to a second epiphany. The severity of Richard’s situation demanded something more than simply delivering food. It required preparing nutritionally-tailored meals that would support an individual’s specific medical treatment. She researched his needs and was on her way again, with a new meal in hand, when she was stopped by a minister in the neighborhood who recognized her. He asked what she was doing, she told him, and he replied, “you’re not just delivering food … you’re delivering God’s love.”
And Ganga said, “That’s the name.”
With Jane Best, the organization was founded. Within two years, 50 nutritionally-tailored meals were being delivered daily from an Upper West Side kitchen (Silver Lining).
In 1995, through the generosity of individual donors, foundations, and corporations, God’s Love purchased a kitchen and home in SoHo. It also published the first of what would be 15 widely-acknowledged nutritional guides. A decade later it was able to expand its mission to provide meals nutritionally tailored for those homebound and suffering from cancer, Alzheimer’s, MS, and other debilitating diseases.
All of their services are provided free of charge without regard to income. This has been made possible by the compassion and dedication of now over 7,600 volunteers who chop, prepare, and deliver these meals every year.
This they do, at dawn and at dusk, in the bitter cold and the sweltering heat; giving the gift of their hearts and their time to deliver 4,000 meals each weekday, to clients in all five boroughs, and New Jersey. No one has ever been turned away for any reason. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!
Nutrition is their signature difference. Every one of their meals is individually-tailored to meet the clients’ specific medical needs. To do so, they employ a team of registered dietitians who individually tailor meals to each client’s specific medical requirements. I can only imagine the extraordinary amount of work this entails.
Over twelve million meals have been served since the organization was founded. What started as one meal delivered to an AIDS patient has grown to be an urgent response to all those who are too ill to cook for themselves.
I love learning about and engaging with such wonderful Silver Lined organizations. Always remember that it just takes one person to change the world. YOU can be that person!