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Can Do Awards Dinner Raises Over $2 Million to Fight Hunger

April 21, 2016 – Food Bank For New York City celebrated friends and vital community members at our annual Can Do Awards Dinner...

April 21, 2016 – Food Bank For New York City celebrated friends and vital community members at our annual Can Do Awards Dinner last night, with our highest ever fundraising total – $2.4 million.  The star-studded gala, hosted by Mario Batali and presented by Bank of America at Cipriani Wall Street, is instrumental in helping provide support for the millions of New Yorkers who rely on Food Bank.

This year’s honorees included food and beverage maker Lavazza, photojournalist Joey O’Loughlin, and artist and farmer Dan Colen.  After a soul-stirring cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” by Grammy-nominated musical guest Ledisi, Food Bank President and CEO Margarette Purvis took a moment to thank our supporters for bringing attention to the problem of hunger and the lives of those we serve.  “You give New York City the gift of sight,” she told honorees, “by showing New Yorkers the poverty and need that so often go unseen.”

Honorees spoke of the disconnect between appearances and reality in New York City – where so much prosperity exists, and yet as Francesca Lavazza said, “1.4 million people struggle to have a decent meal each day.”  Photographer Joey O’Loughlin, who documented the journey of food from Food Bank’s warehouse to the dinner tables of the people we serve, put it this way:  “I didn’t realize there were food lines in New York City.  I thought that was a thing of the past.”

Dan Colen, whose Sky High Farm provides fresh produce and meat directly to Food Bank, spoke of doing what might seem impossible – “There are no hard limits.  We can always push to make more and better food so that we can stamp out hunger in New York City and beyond.”  Special guest Claudia M. brought home that message by telling a bit of her life story as a former pantry client and soon-to-be technical school graduate.  “My family didn’t want to beg, but going to a pantry made a difference in our lives.  I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to say we needed help.”

In addition to a silent auction, the night included live bidding on items such as a luxury suite at Adele’s sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden graciously donated by Bank of America; a once-in-a-lifetime dinner by Mario Batali, David Chang, and Michael Symon; and VIP tickets to Jennifer Lopez in Las Vegas with first-class travel by Delta Air Lines.  Special thanks to comic stars Mike Myers, Aziz Ansari, and Jim Gaffigan for offering themselves as an impromptu auction item:  lunch with the three of them, cooked by Mario Batali.

The evening could not have been such a success without the leadership of Chairs Scott Feldman and Jodisue Rosen, Co-chair Kevin Frisz, Honorary Chairs Mario Batali and Susan Cahn, and Silent Auction Chairs Christina Grdovic and Phillip Baltz.  Thank you to all our supporters for taking a “Can Do” attitude to Food Bank’s mission of ending hunger in New York City!

2016 Can Do Awards Dinner


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