Some updates at the half-way mark (well, almost)
On September 11th, Sunny and I met the leaders of an amazing organization – The Renaissance
Youth Center (RYC) in the Bronx (NY). We met Bervin Harris, RYC’s Chief Executive Officer, and
Ginette Diaz, the center’s Chief Operating Officer. These creative and accomplished people
have built a truly unique program to provide the children of the South Bronx with a safe and
nurturing sanctuary where they can sing, play music, and participate in sports.
But that is not all. Among the three floors of the RYC are classrooms including a computer lab,
two large performance spaces, a music studio, a Robotics lab, and a Zoology room with more
than 40 live animals.
After taking a tour of these facilities, we described the Epic-Cure story, focusing on food rescue
and distribution as well as our cooking class initiatives for children and veterans. While we are
still at the idea stage, it does appear that Mr. Harris and Ms. Diaz are interested in our assisting
them in designing not only a cooking class program but also possibly training them up – Epic-
Cure style – to host closed food distributions for the families of the RYC students.
You can bet that Sunny will soon hound our friends at Feeding Northeast Florida to make the
right introductions to the Food Bank for New York City (that area’s local Feeding America
Sunny and I were awed to find such giving people doing such great work! We are also grateful
to our new friend Howard Altarescue for making the introduction!
Here is the Renaissance Youth Center website, again. It is worth a close look.
RYC was a fantastic Saturday discovery, but we were not yet finished with what turned out to
be a tour of good people doing good things.
On Tuesday the 14th of September, Sunny and I were privileged to meet with the wonderful
people of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture (Stone Barns): Rick Parnell, the
Executive Director of Stone Barns and, it turns out, a native of Northeast Florida; Elise Edwards,
Director of Strategic Integration and Board Relations; and Irene Hamburger, the Director of
Education at Stone Barns.
I prattled on about the mission and accomplishments of Epic-Cure before turning the culinary
education topic over to Sunny (who crushed it, as always), and it became increasingly evident
that we were all singing from the same hymnal. Rick, Elise, and especially Irene interrupted us
frequently and encouragingly, as they were impressed and intrigued by the Epic-Cure story,
especially because they were prime movers behind “Wasted: The Story of Food Waste” and
because we have accomplished so much as a 100% volunteer organization.
We left them with a copy of our first cooking course curriculum because we all felt strongly that
educational coordination would be a great way to begin a partnership.
Our special thanks go to Epic-Cure Board member Greg Boester and his wife Marian for making
Here is the Stone Bars website. It, too, is worth a close look.