“Love Rocks NYC”

According to noted psychologist, Abraham Maslow’s famous “hierarchy of needs,” hunger and health are the basic needs that must be met before we can satisfy “higher” needs like belonging, love, or self-actualization. To put it simply, if we are starving or ill, we don’t have the bandwidth for anything more than getting food or getting better. Those who have ever battled a serious illness know this struggle all too well. There is nothing like disease to put your world on pause. For those who live alone and provide for themselves, the basic effort to prepare food as they fight their illness can be overwhelming. This labor is amplified for sick people with families for which they are the sole provider. This is where God’s Love We Deliver steps in.

God’s Love We Deliver is a NYC-based non-profit that offers food delivery and nutrition services to over 6,500 people with severe illnesses and their families every year. Thanks largely to volunteer efforts, God’s Love has been cooking and distributing tailor-made meals to the homes of those in need since 1985. The only requirement to participate is that you are too sick to shop or cook for yourself. Clients range from people with cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, HIV, Alzheimer’s, and over 200 other diagnoses. Because different diseases have different needs, meals are designed to complement the medications and treatment plans of each client to keep them strong during a challenging time. Not only does God’s Love cook and deliver nutritious meals; they also offer unlimited nutritional education and counseling from registered nutritionists. Even more impressive is the fact that all services and meals are provided for the dependents and caregivers of sick folks, too.

I first heard about God’s Love from Steve Covello, a friend and former employee who was so impressed by this organization’s mission that he left the for-profit world to raise money for God’s Love instead. He and his team told me the story of a mother sick in bed with breast cancer and even sicker from chemotherapy, unable to feed her children; then, he told me about the joy on her face when she realized her family would not go hungry. They told me about a letter they received from a client’s family member that said, “My wife passed away a few weeks ago, and I had forgotten it was my birthday until I received my meal and you guys had made a cake especially for me.” Stories like these—stories of lightened loads, sweet reminders and partnerships in healing—have no end in the God’s Love archives. Another good friend from the God’s Love team, Emmit Findley, says, “I remember the first time I ever delivered a meal—the joy and gratitude that met me at the door. I carry that with me. More than a meal, you are giving them dignity, hope, compassion… and mostly love.” Without a doubt, I knew I had to do something to help this incredible project and the people it serves.

I have been donating to God’s Love for almost ten years and have been a substantial contributor to several of their campaigns, the most recent of which was last week’s benefit concert, “Love Rocks NYC.” On March 9, Joe Walsh, Jackson Browne, Gary Clark Jr., and so many others gathered in NYC’s Beacon Theater to sing songs of peace, love and happiness in support of God’s Love. Together, we helped raise $1.5 million for this amazing charity. Plus, we got to see Bruce Willis play the harmonica, which far exceeded expectation. Check out more about the event in Rolling Stone magazine at http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bill-murray-joe-walsh-sing-beatles-classic-at-benefit-show-w471666, and then check out God’s Love We Deliver at https://www.glwd.org. Programs like this need all the help they can get.

God’s Love We Deliver is built on the idea of neighbors helping neighbors, which makes an important amendment to Maslow’s hierarchy: food is not always a prerequisite to our capacity for love. Sometimes, food is love.