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Food Bank For New York City Raises 1.4 Million for Hunger Relief at Star-Studded Annual Can-Do Awards Dinner

Ebro North America, BronxWorks Honored for Commitment to Ending Hunger

Lucy Cabrera, Ph.D., Pres. & CEO of  Food Bank For New York City, Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

New York, NY, April 8, 2011Food Bank For New York City raised $1.4 million at its Ninth Annual Can-Do Awards Dinner which raised $1.4 million for hunger-relief. The event was held on Thursday evening, April 7, 2011, at Abigail Kirsch’s Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River. The Food Bank is the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs. Ebro North America President & CEO, Peter F. Smith, and BronxWorks Executive Director Carolyn McLaughlin, were honored for their commitment to hunger-relief. Lucy Cabrera, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Food Bank, received a Lifetime Achievement Award for 23 years of service to the organization. Co-chairing the dinner was Chef/Author Mario Batali and his wife Susan Cahn. Jon Stewart, one of America’s top social and comedic figures, was Can-Do's Special Guest. TODAY Show Co-Host and America's best loved weatherman, Al Roker, hosted. Multi-platinum, Grammy-Award winning singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan, provided an intimate musical performance.

More than 700 people joined Mario Batali, Jon Stewart, Al Roker and Sarah McLachlan to support the Food Bank's fight against hunger, including:  Jon Bon Jovi, Jimmy Fallon, Michael Stipe, Mariska Hargitay, Anthony Bourdain, Tom Colicchio, Rachael Ray, Anne Burrell, David Burke, Jill Hennessy, Christopher Meloni, Josh Charles, Hoda Kotb, Isaac Mizrahi, Gail Simmons, Michael Schlow, Joy Bauer, and others.  

Auctioneer Lydia Feret of Christie's took the room to an all-time high for the live auction that raised $257,000. The high-bid on the auction block was a whopping $90,000 X 2 or $180,000 for The Three Castrati. Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio and David Chang (the Three Castrati) will prepare and serve a dinner for 12 in the private dining room of Manzo, Eataly. Six savory courses will be paired with wines selected from the Eataly wine shop and Eataly Chef Michael Toscano will delight the high bidders and guests with passed hors d'œuvres and desserts. And a musical serenade will be sung by the legendary Jon Bon Jovi!

Other auction items included a golfer's dream vacation in Scotland donated by Delta Airlines BusinessElite®; Round-trip on Delta Airlines BusinessElite® to Italy for five nights in a super suite at Rome Cavalieri, plus dining, spa and a private tour of the hotel's prized 1,100 piece museum-quality art collection; a weeknight escape or weekend lunch for 50, aboard your own private yacht charter, The Lexington from Prestige Yacht Charters, with cuisine by Cesare Casella and wine selections from Bastianich wines; and a chance to tap your inner winemaker...with actor Ed Burns. The winning bidder of this package will pair up with City Winery to create 10 cases of private label wine to bear their namesake. Plus an opportunity to  finalize the wine's unique profile over a private dinner at City Winery - tasting and blending with City Winery's winemaker and famed actor and New York City native, Ed Burns.  

Jon Stewart took the stage for 10 minutes and spoke about hunger as only Jon Stewart Can-Do! “Applaud yourselves for being here and raising money,” Stewart said to a packed ballroom of Food Bank supporters. “I just want to say to Mario this is the nicest Seder I've ever been to."

The Can-Do Awards Dinner is instrumental in helping to provide support for the 1.5 million New York City residents who rely on the Food Bank's programs and services. Every dollar donated to the Food Bank helps provide five meals. This is a critically important year for the Can-Do Awards Gala as unemployment remains high and food costs are soaring. New York City residents are being forced to make impossible sacrifices including reducing their food intake and the quality of their food to get by financially.   

"Our 2011 Can-Do Award honorees have demonstrated an uncompromising commitment to ending hunger. The Food Bank applauds their efforts and thanks them on behalf of all New Yorkers who are struggling to put food on the table," said Lucy Cabrera, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City. "Today, almost one in five New York City residents lives below the federal poverty line- many of whom will turn to us in the months to come. They don't give up and neither can we. With your continued support,  all New Yorkers can have a future in which hunger is a thing of the past."

“Ebro North America is honored to partner with the Food Bank for New York City," said Peter F. Smith, President and CEO of Ebro North America. "Ronzoni pasta and Carolina rice have helped nourish New Yorkers for over ninety years. The Can-Do Awards event allows us all to celebrate our significant accomplishments of the past year. Ebro North America looks forward to a continued partnership with the Food Bank to ensure that every New Yorker has sustained access to one of life’s most basic necessities: affordable food.”

“BronxWorks is honored to be a Can Do Award recipient. Our partnerships with the Food Bank have enabled us to keep the safety net strong in these difficult times," said Carolyn McLaughlin, BronxWorks Executive Director.

A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Lucy Cabrera, who will retire effective May 31, 2011.  Dr. Cabrera has led the Food Bank for more than two decades.  Under her leadership, the Food Bank’s mission has expanded beyond food distribution to ongoing support and resources that enable approximately 1,000 community-based member programs to build capacity and connect low-income New Yorkers with much-needed benefits and services. 

“Under her guidance, the Food Bank has become the city’s only hub for integrated food poverty assistance, tackling the hunger issue on three fronts – food distribution, income support and nutrition education," said Rev. Henry Belin, Chairman of the Food Bank Board of Directors."The board and the entire Food Bank staff appreciate the passion Dr. Cabrera has brought to the organization over the years, and her many meaningful contributions.” 

“I look back on my career at the Food Bank with great pride,” said Dr. Cabrera. “Our organization has grown from a small provider to one of the country’s largest and most prestigious food banks, serving 1.5 million New Yorkers today. I leave behind an organization that is in a strong financial position, has a stellar reputation, and has an independent research wing.  I’m confident that the strength of our member network, a highly committed board of directors, and a skilled and dedicated executive team will take the Food Bank to the next level."

The evening concluded with a special performance by multi-platinum, Grammy-Award winning singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan Sarah McLachlan. For Sarah, music and philanthropy are intertwined. She contributed the track "Hold On" to the 1993 AIDS-Benefit Album No Alternative, and performed on the star-studded tsunami disaster relief  telethon on NBC, as well as during the concert One World: The Concert for Tsunami Relief. She participated in the Philadelphia installment of the Live 8 concerts,  which was one of nine held simultaneously in nine major cities around the world. In addition, McLachlan was a co-founder of the historic Lilith Fair, an all women music festival which donated over $10 million dollars to local and national women’s charities Sarah also funds an outreach program in Vancouver which provides free music education classes to inner-city youths whose school music programs have been reduced or abolished by budget cuts. Said Sarah, 'Music is a gift. It connects us to each other and to ourselves. Through it, we share our stories and our emotions, and we create a whole new way of communicating."

"Sarah's ability to speak from the heart also connects her to the Food Bank.  Much like Sarah's commitment to helping young people and the victims of tragedies around the globe find their voice, the Food Bank speaks for 1.5 million New Yorkers who rely on our programs and services and who often cannot speak for themselves," said Lucy Cabrera, Ph.D., President & CEO of the Food Bank For New York City."We applaud Sara's efforts and we welcome her to the Food Bank family. At a very difficult time when more than three million New York City residents are struggling to put food on the table, we are honored to have her support. We know her music will lift all of our spirits at Can-Do and beyond."

About the Food Bank For New York City

Food Bank For New York City recognizes 28 years as the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs.  As the city’s hub for integrated food poverty assistance, the Food Bank tackles the hunger issue on three fronts — food distribution, income support and nutrition education — all strategically guided by its research. Through its network of approximately 1,000 community-based member programs citywide, the Food Bank helps provide 400,000 free meals a day for New Yorkers in need. The Food Bank’s hands-on nutrition education program in the public schools reaches thousands of children, teens and adults. Income support services including food stamps, free tax assistance for the working poor and the Earned Income Tax Credit put millions of dollars back in the pockets of low-income New Yorkers, helping them to achieve greater dignity and independence. 94% of donations go directly toward food distribution, acquisition and programs in all five boroughs of New York City.  Learn how you can help at

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