It’s almost here! Thanksgiving, that is, one of the most celebrated holidays in America, as everyone stops to give thanks. I know I am thankful—so thankful that I don’t know where to begin—but I just know I am.
City Harvest, known worldwide for providing food for those most in need of a meal, has begun rolling in the turkeys. Dedicated to feeding the hungry, City Harvest has partnered with various agencies around the city to ensure there’s always a meal available so that no one should have to go hungry.
Over 140 pounds of turkeys have been delivered to the city’s network of food pantries and soup kitchens located throughout the five boroughs. This year, in what will be one of the biggest food distributions in the organization’s 30-year history, City Harvest will also distribute fixings to go along with those turkeys to more than 500 households at its Thanksgiving Mobile Market in the South Bronx. Want to help? Visit www.cityharvest.org/donate-food.
Also helping New Yorkers is the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY), which recently hosted a wonderful gala at the Waldorf Astoria with over 700 people in attendance. The master of ceremonies for the evening was actor Joel Grey, who reminded the audience that “Life is a Cabaret,” but for many, it wouldn’t be so without the services that the VNSNY provides. Mary Ann Christopher, president and CEO of VNSNY, gave a rousing speech, interrupted several times by a thunderous applause from the audience. Those receiving the VNSNY Lillian D. Wald Award were Frank J. Branchini, chairman and CEO of EmblemHealth Inc., and Claire M. Fagin, a registered nurse and member of the board of VNSNY.
Lillian D. Wald was a strong advocate of public health and women’s rights and was among the first to make home nursing visits. Wald founded the Henry Street Settlement in the early 1900s, where she would be able to make services provided by a nurse available to a greater number of the city’s poor. By 1913, with the help of some financial funding, she was able to acquire a staff of over 75 nurses. Henry Street Settlement eventually evolved into the VNSNY, which makes over 2 million visits throughout the five boroughs. Other organizations Wald helped to found were the Women’s Trade Union League, the Columbia University School of Nursing and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The evening began with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner, a short presentation and, of course, dancing. The band was spectacular, and the dance floor remained crowded—always a good sign of a good time for a worthy cause.
Happy birthday to Rita Butler, Kayla Chambers and Whoopi Goldberg. Nice to see that Goldberg remembers from whence she came. Hosting a small dinner party with some of her nearest and dearest, Goldberg brought the gang uptown to Sylvia’s. What good is a party without fried chicken? Actually, they didn’t have fried chicken, but they had the smothered pork chops instead, which are Goldberg’s favorite. Who else would tell you these things if I didn’t?
Among those smacking their lips were actor Robert De Niro and his gorgeous wife, Grace Hightower; columnist Liz Smith; André Leon Talley (who loves to come to Harlem); Tom Leonardis, Goldberg’s assistant; and her granddaughter, Amarah Skye Martin, who actually looks like Goldberg but much prettier (sorry, Whoopi). Sylvia’s red velvet cake was served for dessert, which was to die for.
While I was attending a gala the other evening, the conversation actually turned to the subject of stop-and-frisk. Can you believe it? One partygoer stated that he never even thought about the issue of stop-and-frisk until he began hearing so much about it on the news.
“I used to just walk down the street; now I start to look over my shoulder to see who’s coming.”
“Boy oh boy,” I thought to myself, “What planet does he live on? It must be nice.”
As always, lo and behold, everyone turned to me to ask my opinion. I had to be honest as, after all, I am the “Cosmopolitan Reviewer.”
“Well,” I began, “it’s really hard to say. Unless you live in a neighborhood where gunshots are going off anywhere from 2 in the afternoon [when most thugs get up] until 5:30 in the morning [when most thugs are getting ready to turn in], innocent people are getting shot just walking down the street and mothers are afraid to take their children to the playground for fear they will be caught in the crossfire or see a person lying dead in the street, you don’t know enough to take an intelligent, well-informed position.” With that, everyone cringed and quickly changed the subject to the next topic of the day—Obamacare.
I am really trying to figure out what is the problem, because I refuse to believe that Congress is so radically against Obamacare just because it’s related to President Barack Obama. Currently, my family pays $1,505 per month for bare bones, no frills, no specialist-included health insurance. Under nystateofhealth.ny.gov, I found a family plan for only $738 a month that includes basic dental coverage and chiropractor visits. Are we going to sign up for this? Yes, we are. Plus, all of our current doctors accept this particular coverage. Right now, I’m in health care heaven.
While I confess to not knowing all of the inner idiosyncrasies of how the government is able to offer this type of coverage, the truth is, I don’t want to know. What I do know is that there has never been health care reform that I can remember, and here is an opportunity for everyone in the country to get coverage. As I heard Obama state in a recent televised press conference, “Over 30,000 people in the state of Kentucky signed up for health care under the new health care package on the first day it was offered, and I didn’t even carry the state of Kentucky.” This is a great thing that the president has done—making health care affordable for all of the people, all of the time.
Get well soon, Albert Mitchell.
Until next week … kisses