Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Everyday heroes

A canopy of pear trees in Carnegie Hill. 2:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018. Another bright, sunny day, yesterday in New York with the thermometer reaching up to the mid-60s in the Sun. It is not warm though. I don’t know why I keep remarking to myself about this. It is, after all, only April although in some ways it still feels like February (when it was cold). It must be that I think I’ll find reassurance in warmer temperatures. They do help one’s disposish.
Spring ready to pop in Central Park.
Last night at Cipriani 42nd Street, City Harvest celebrated its 35th anniversary at a gala where they honored Jose Andres, Wendy and Bill Mills, Robin Hood and Chrissy Teigen. I’ve never seen the place so packed.

Co-chairs were Diana and Joseph DiMenna, Misook and Harry Doolittle, Lise and Michael Evans, Carola and Robert Jain, Christine and Richard Mack, Kirsten and Patrick McMahon, Heather Crosby Mnuchin, and Sandra and Eric Ripert.
I was introduced to City Harvest back in the early ‘90s by three women I knew who were working on the gala benefit for that year, Topsy Taylor, Joy Ingham and Emilia Saint-Amand. The charity was about ten years old. It was started by a simple (but brilliant) idea of one woman – who could see that there was a lot of food being left over each day in restaurant kitchens and by the suppliers, and what could be better than gathering as much as available and re-distributing it around the city to neighborhoods where there was a need.

I think they called me in thinking I could do a story on it and interest more readers to get involved. It was not a “sexy” event – meaning high-rated with the major donors who gave to the Met, the Park, the Hospitals, etc. My friends were not having an easy time getting people involved.
Harry Benson's portrait, taken at Michael's, of DPC, Topsy Taylor, Emilia Saint-Amand, and Joy Ingham in 2010 discussing an upcoming City Harvest benefit (the photo is from Harry's book, "New York New York," on which he collaborated with Hilary Geary Ross, published by Powerhouse Books, 2011.
Joy and Topsy with Joe Pugliese last night at City Harvest's 35th Anniverary Gala.
I loved the idea, of course; it made so much sense, and was also another way for more people getting involved with more people (neighbors) to do something good for everyone. And Feed People. That was more than twenty years ago. In the meantime, City Harvest continued to grow along with the need for them, and somewhere along the line they elicited the support of Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin and some other major chefs, and with an upcoming generation of supporters, like Heather Mnuchin who brought in a lot of her friends, it has grown into a major charity which delivers millions of pounds of food and produce all over New York annually.
City Harvest truck drivers, who are the every day heroes of the organization.
At the heart of it is the Heart. The City Harvest truck drivers were honored last night. Most of them have been picking up and delivering the bounty for ten years and more. But it’s more than driving a truck. These men are the messengers of blessings. They’re well aware of it because what they do is a blessing to them. Charity for their fellow man. They have a relationship with those receiving and vice versa. Each year one or two of them are honored and followed around in a video. They are like city angels – real New Yorkers well aware of the profound value of their jobs.
Honoree Chrissy Teigen, who was serenaded by her husband, John Legend.
Today, City Harvest is a major philanthropy in New York because of all the volunteers, beginning with my friends who led me to it. This year they didn’t even send out invitations. They sent out letters to previous supporters and were sold out two weeks before the event. They honored Chrissy Teigen who has been a major supporter for sometime. She was introduced by her husband John Legend. Ms. Teigen is expecting, as the world knows, and she was her blithesome self addressing her hundreds of friends (everybody loves Chrissy) about why she supports and works for City Harvest.
The Bid for Hunger in full auction mode. 10 PM.
Also last night our friend Paige Peterson was at an event at the Metropolitan Club where Al Gore was being honored by the LBJ Foundation. Paige sent us this photo of herself and Mr. Gore as well as to show us what she wore – all of which she got last week at the Peruvian Connection over on 76th Street and Columbus Avenue. (“Artisan apparel for nomads and romantics”). I had suggested to Paige that she check out the place. They are current advertisers, and having once been in that business, I could see their clothes are beautiful, flattering, beautifully made and very contemporary.
Paige dressed for the the evening in her Peruvian Connection ensemble; and with Al Gore later that night at The Metropolitan Club where the LBJ Foundation was honoring Mr. Gore with the 2018 Lady Bird Johnson Environmental Award.
Paige confirmed it. She picked up the whole ensemble last Friday, and loved everything, not to mention shocked by the very reasonable prices. The Giselle Skirt of gossamer nylon netting, $99; the Rebelle Tunic $89, and the Venetian Tile Alpaca & silk scarf, $149. 

As it happens the Peruvian Connection is having a one-day only sale tomorrow, Thursday, April 26, with 20% Off Entire Store.
Tuesday evening last week, the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) celebrated its 2018 Annual Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental. The IWHC recognized the work of renowned human rights champion Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who is a tireless champion for the human rights of underserved populations, with the IWHC Visionary Leadership Award:  and Kenyan activist Monica Oguttu, Executive Director of the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET), whose fearless advocacy on behalf of Kenyan women and girls spans more than two decades, received the Joan B. Dunlop Award
The cocktail reception at the International Women’s Health Coalition 's Annual Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental.
The evening was attended by 320 guests. Among those in attendance included distinguished individuals in foreign policy, international affairs, technology, finance and philanthropy including the honoree’s wife HRH Princess Sarah Zeid; Elaine Wolfensohn, Marnie Pillsbury; Susan Nitze; Ambassador Karen Pierce, UK Permanent Representative to the UN; Gillian Bird Australia’s Permanent Representative to the UN; Ambassador Louise Blais, Canada’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN.  Presenters for the evening were Marlene Hess; IWHC President Francoise Girard; board member Alexander Farman-Farmaian, and author/journalist Kati Marton.
Marlene Hess
Journalist and former IWHC chair Kati Marton introduces High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, Kati Marton, and Francoise Girard
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein accepts the IWHC Visionary Leadership Award
The International Women's Health Coalition advances the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and young people, particularly adolescent girls, in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. IWHC furthers this agenda by supporting and strengthening leaders and organizations working at the community, national, regional, and global levels, and by advocating for international and U.S. policies, programs, and funding.

The IWHC builds bridges between local realities and international policy by connecting women and young people in the Global South to key decision-makers. In doing so, IWHC brings local voices to global debates and in turn, makes global processes and policies more understandable and actionable at the local level.
Monica Oguttu, women's rights advocate and Executive Director of the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET) in Kenya, accepts the Joan B. Dunlop Award
For example, Monica Oguttu’s journey began in the gynecological ward of a Nairobi teaching hospital, where as a nurse she witnessed firsthand the injuries and deaths suffered by women and girls as a result of unsafe abortions. In response, Oguttu co-founded the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET) in 1996 — an IWHC grantee partner organization that provides comprehensive reproductive health services to women and girls and advocates for their rights.

KMET now runs 22 clinics across the western region of Kenya, an area struggling with high rates of adolescent pregnancy and of maternal death due to unsafe abortion. The organization also provides support for 109 clinics to ensure adequate reproductive health care.
IWHC President Francoise Girard, Kati Marton, High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, Kenyan advocate Monica Oguttu, IWHC chair Marlene Hess, and IWHC Program Officer Erin Williams
Kathy Regan, Sandra Lawson, Susan Nitze, Françoise Girard, Marlene Hess, Monica Oguttu, and Marnie Pillsbury

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