With guests like Michael J. Fox, actor Joy Bryant, and celebrity chef Mario Batali in attendance, the Food Bank for New York City Can Do Awards was already a star-studded affair, but when a former President of the United States shows up, it becomes that more special.
42nd President Bill Clinton made a surprise appearance at the event on April 19 to lend support to his friend and emcee Batali and emphasized the need to end hunger in NYC.
“Mario asked me to come by, and I wanted to come by and thank him and thank Michael and all of you who support the Food Bank,” Clinton said in a brief speech.
The former President congratulated the night’s honorees and poked fun at Batali’s fashion sense before speaking about his fight against hunger as President and making a call to action to stop wasting food in America.
“The food’s there, we’re paying for it, and it’s cheaper to throw it away than to give to a hungry kid. There’s something wrong with that. We ought to be able to figure out how to change that,” said Clinton.
Honorees for the 2017 Can Do Awards were FEED founder and CEO Lauren Bush Lauren, The BLK Projek Executive Director Tanya Fields and the Muslim Women’s Institute for Research and Development.
“I had the idea starting as a student in college when I was able to travel around the world with the U.N. world food program and through that experience was able to see the realities of poverty and hunger that unfortunately so many people, one in eight, around the world deal with,” Laurent said in her acceptance speech.
The BLK Projek
Created in 2009 by Bronx activist and mother, Tanya Fields, The BLK Projek “seeks to address food justice and economic development by harnessing the local, good food movement and creating small business and career opportunities for underserved women and youth of color.”
“I am excited, I am flattered, I am grateful to be accepting this award from the Food Bank for New York City,” said Fields.
“And I accept this award on behalf of women, mothers like myself, who have been told they could not ‘do it,’” she added.
Muslim Women’s Institute for Research and Development
Accepting the award for the Muslim Women’s Institute for Research and Development was Executive Director Sultana Ocasio.
“In a space that’s probably about four of these tables we run a food pantry, an office, an HIV awareness center and a meeting space for volunteers,” Ocasio said of the organization’s storefront in South Bronx.
“We are a community, and even if our face[s] are different, we are a type of family,” she said of those people who benefit from the Muslim Women’s Institute.
Food Bank NYC provides five meals for every dollar donated. This year Can Do raised 10 million meals for New Yorkers in need. Since its inception, the awards have raised 80 million meals and $16 million.
Check out pictures from the event below and stay linked to Good Celebrity for all the breaking celebrity news headlines and stories about people doing good!
(Photo Credit: Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City)