On November 24, nearly 200 people were provided hot Thanksgiving meals in Harlem's Frederick Douglass Children's Center by Project Feed Me, a significant meal that was months in the making.
Patrick Alvarez, the founder of Project Feed Me, often dreamed of giving back through service because of his family background. A survivor of domestic abuse and nights spent sleeping on shelter floors, Project Feed Me represents moving past those hardships and was created to provide holiday meals to the needy with the mission, "In order to make changes globally, we must first make changes locally."
"I knew that I wanted to start a nonprofit, but it was people like Isaias Garcia [an early Project Feed Me volunteer] who said I could really do this," shares Alvarez.
"I was going through things like domestic violence in my house, where my dad was overly violent. Then my mom fled to a shelter. Then I started talking to Patrick, and we got a bit closer. Patrick will always be there with me to have conversations with me about opening up our own business," says Garcia.
The two grew up under similar circumstances and shared their dreams of one day 'taking over the world' together. Money from the Children's Aid Society, provided by the Neediest Cases Fund, the two have received money for dorm furnishings and other necessities.
"My mom always told me that she came to this country to provide for her children what she didn't have, and she wants me to be better than what she was. We're going to take over the world," the two declared.
WATCH Project Feed Me in action.
The organization is currently seeking corporate sponsors, volunteers, support from local leaders and media and donations (in-kind and monetary).
Learn more about The New York Times' Neediest Cases Fund, a campaign that officially began in in 1912.