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Food Bank For New York City Raises $2.1 Million for Hunger Relief at Star-Studded Can Do Awards Dinner April 9th

Media Contacts:     
Carol Schneider/212-566-7855, ext. 2231/
Shawn Purdy/212-235-6813/


New York, NY, April 10, 2014Food Bank For New York City — the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs — raised $2.1 million last evening, with donations still coming in, at the organization’s Annual Can Do Awards Dinner, presented by Bank of America, at Cipriani Wall Street.  Dorothea Bongiovi, MSNBC, Toyota, and Every Day Is A Miracle were honored for their commitment to eradicating poverty and hunger. Jodisue and Scott R. Feldman served as Can Do Dinner Co-Chairs, and Cat Greenleaf, host of NBC’s “Talk Stoop with Cat Greenleaf,” emceed the event.  Mario Batali and Susan Cahn, long-time Food Bank supporters and the 2013 Can Do Awards honorees, served as this year’s Honorary Chairs.  

More than 600 people came out to support Food Bank For New York City in the fight against hunger, including legendary multi-Grammy Award-winning musician and singer, Aaron Neville, who was the evening’s special musical guest, performing such classics as “Stand By Me,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”  Presenters for the evening included Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio, Chris Canty, and Bevy Smith.  Notable attendees included Jon Bon Jovi, Michael Stipe, Rachael Ray, Ted Allen, Lauren Bush Lauren, Josh Charles, David Burke, Joe Morton, Kate Lee, Kelly Bensimon, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, Selita Ebanks, Jill Hennessy, Lori Silverbush, Michael Potts, Susan Ungaro,  Nastia Liukin, Sasha Cohen, Alysia Reiner, David Alan Basche, Mary Giuliani, Phillip Baltz, and others.

“Tonight’s gala honors the hard work of fighting hunger wherever it exists using the tools gifted to you.” said Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City. “I applaud our honorees for their passion, their compassion and their extraordinary service to others. We could not do what we do without the support of each of you, who continuously proves, I ‘Can Do.’”    

The evening’s auction, led by auctioneer Lydia Fenet of Christie's Auction House, featured celebrity-donated and exclusive items. The Return of the Three Castrati — a once-in-a-lifetime, sit-down dinner for 16 people catered by legendary chefs Mario Batali, David Chang, and Tom Colicchio — caused a bidding war that inspired the chefs to duplicate the offer.  The end result was two dinners that sold for $150,000 each.

Can Do Honoree Dorothea Bongiovi was honored for her longstanding dedication to fighting hunger, encouraging those around her to serve, and giving those in need a helping hand.  Dorothea is the driving force behind JBJ Soul Kitchen, a non-profit community restaurant in Red Bank, New Jersey, where people who are unable to afford the recommended donation volunteer their time as payment for their meals.  JBJ Soul Kitchen, whose mission is to feed people healthy, well balanced meals in a welcoming environment, has served more than 22,000 meals with 40 percent being in-need diners.

Can Do Honoree MSNBC (the network and was honored for their commitment to reflecting an evolving America by giving voice to the ideas and issues that often don’t get a national platform. MSNBC gives extensive coverage to poverty in America, the Farm Bill, and the cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps).

Can Do Honoree Toyota was recognized for its ongoing partnership with Food Bank For New York City. Toyota shares what they know so others can extend their reach and improve people’s lives, because they believe that when good ideas are shared, great things can happen.  Since 2011, Toyota has shared its manufacturing know-how, helping optimize operations at five pilot soup kitchens and pantries throughout New York City, and beachfront communities impacted by Super Storm Sandy. The Food Bank team can now effectively spread the continuous improvement thinking throughout its vast network of 1,000 soup kitchens and pantries.

Can Do Honoree Every Day Is A Miracle (EDM) has served as a lifeline for residents of the South Bronx since 1998,  the area with the greatest need in New York City,  Today, they serve approximately 157,500 families, children, and senior citizens with social services, food assistance, and valuable education programs.

The Can Do Awards Dinner is instrumental in helping to provide support for the 1.5 million New Yorkers who rely on Food Bank programs and services to eat, including one in five children. And recent events present further challenges. On November 1, 2013, sweeping Congressional cuts to food stamps (now known as SNAP) took effect, resulting in the loss of $225 million in food purchases in New York City alone, which is money that supports jobs in our retail food sector as well as throughout our local economy. Every dollar donated to Food Bank For New York City helps provide five meals.
About Food Bank For New York City
Food Bank For New York City recognizes 31 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, 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  community-based member programs citywide, Food Bank helps provide 400,000 free meals a day for New Yorkers in need. 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. Learn how you can help at

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