Deb Gordon’s guest was Stephan Russo, Executive Director of Goddard Riverside Community Center, which was founded in 1959 to provide opportunities for individuals and families to lead better lives, and serves over 15,000 people annually through a variety of programs and services including early childhood development, youth camps, homeless outreach and advocacy.
The organization also provides housing to seniors, mental health services, and free tax help to the community.
This year, like every year for the last 30 odd years, Goddard Riverside Community Center along with caring volunteers, will serve hot holiday meals to over 1000 New Yorkers. The festive event brings people of all ages from different sectors of the community together in fellowship to celebrate the day.
“Primarily the people who come into the community center are alone at Christmas – may have families, or not have families – need to get a really really good meal, so it’s really a way that both people from the community can give back, and we can provide a place for people to come on this holiday,” said Russo.
Goddard is located at 593 Columbus Avenue at 88th, and welcomes any and all to come for dinner on Christmas Day from noon to 3pm. Besides feeding guests a satisfying and nutritious meal of turkey with all the trimmings, Goddard will also provide entertainment for adults and kids alike.
“We serve food in family style – it becomes a real community event,” said Russo. There’s music and entertainment, and there’s food.”
In addition, Goddard will deliver holiday meals to homebound seniors on the Upper West Side and Harlem.
Goddard also welcomes volunteers to help them prepare the holiday meals, and to help with all the services they offer throughout the year.
“The holiday event is staffed completely by volunteers, we probably will have 250 to 300 volunteers who are willing to share Christmas with us,” said Russo.
“It’s really quite remarkable…the sense that you feel of belonging and feeling something that’s greater than yourself. That’s what, to me, the Christmas Holiday Meal means.”
For more information visit www.goddard.org , visit them on Twitter or Facebook, or call 212-873-6600.