By Jon Methven
The Advent Food Program on West 93rd Street is giving thanks this week after an anonymous $20,000 donation brought the group’s Kitchen Renovation GoFundMe past the $50,000 mark. The anonymous donor’s identity has lent a bit of holiday mystique to what has become an engaging story of community support on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
It has the makings of a classic holiday tale. One can imagine, if one is stuffed with the proper increments of turkey, cranberry, and festive inspiration, that a Charles Dickensian character, perusing the week’s West Side Rag headlines, was suddenly visited by the Ghost of Soup Kitchens Past and heeded the call. Or a Seuss-possessed hermit’s heart suddenly grew two sizes, resulting in the massive donation so everyone could “Feast, feast, feast on Who Pudding and Who Roast Beast.” More likely, in a food-inspired week, a gourmand who is a patron of the city’s impressive hunger relief community became the key to the food program’s upcoming renovations.
“This gift just ahead of the Thanksgiving celebration, along with hundreds of community members who answered the call, is an affirmation of the spirit of generosity within our community,” said Advent Lutheran Church Rev. Danielle Miller.
The Advent Food Program is made up of two teams: Community Lunch and the Food Pantry. The teams are raising $55,000 for a much-needed upgrade to the equipment and additional culinary enhancements. Since the launch of the GoFundMe, the New York City community and media organizations have rallied to support the initiative.
The fundraiser began with small donations from the community, which slowly expanded to hit $7,000 in late October. An article in the West Side Rag on November 7 boosted the fundraiser to $30,000. Several anonymous donations, including the major one, have brought the effort closer to the $55,000 goal.
Here is a link to the fundraiser to learn more and help bring Advent over the top: Kitchen Makeover GoFundMe Fundraiser.
The donor’s identity will be the talk of the kitchen this Saturday, when volunteers gather to plan the week’s hot lunch: a post-Thanksgiving meal of beef marinara over pasta with parmigiana cheese, bread, and mixed green salad. Service begins at noon.
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