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God's Love We Deliver Featured in Architectural Digest
November 20, 2015
JRM Construction Mangement is pleased to announce the featuring of our recently completed project, "God's Love We Deliver" in the well-known publication, Architectural Digest. JRM acted as the General Contractor for this state of the art project.
Source: Architectural Digest
For many people suffering from severe illness, it can be a struggle to prepare a proper meal—at a time when good nutrition is crucial. Enter God’s Love We Deliver (GLWD), a New York area nonprofit that provides over a million meals a year gratis to more than 5,000 primarily low-income individuals, and their families, who are grappling with AIDS, cancer, Parkinson’s, and other debilitating conditions. “Being sick and hungry is a crisis that demands an urgent response,” says Karen Pearl, the group’s president and CEO. “We lift some of that burden off our clients,” she adds, “offering the nutrition they need to be as strong as possible during challenging times.
The nonsectarian organization, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in May, is now better able to fulfill its mission in a new six-story headquarters named in honor of advocate and board member Michael Kors, the fashion designer. “I’ve been involved with them for a long time,” he says, “and I’m still amazed at the good work they do every single day.”
The style mogul was instrumental in bringing the $28 million project to life, joining an impressive roster of benefactors and supporters that includes leading design manufacturers such as Knoll, Sub-Zero/Wolf, and Brown Jordan. “God’s Love We Deliver is somewhat unusual in that the majority of our support—up to 70 percent of our annual budget—is privately raised, through generous individuals, corporations, and foundations,” says chief development officer David Ludwigson. “The building is a wonderful example of the tremendous results that can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together for the betterment of the community.”
Designed by the architecture firm Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel, the 48,500-square-foot SoHo edifice was constructed on the site of the organization’s previous two-story building. It is equipped with a large commercial-quality kitchen, an enclosed loading dock for the group’s delivery fleet, commodious employee and volunteer work areas, and space to host fundraising events. The building is also on track to receive LEED Silver certification, due to such eco-friendly features as a rooftop herb garden and rainwater-collection cisterns, a composter, and bicycle racks to encourage staffers to pedal to work.
The most essential improvement, however, was the ability to scale up, ensuring that GLWD can at least double the number of meals delivered. The new kitchen offers more counter space to prep ingredients, more ovens to roast chicken, more kettles to cook black-bean soup, and more refrigeration—including mammoth walk-in freezers—to store ingredients and ready-to-deliver meals. Initially GLWD supplied hot meals to clients five days a week, but over the past decade, it has shifted to making foods that are then chilled or frozen, providing clients greater flexibility in what and when they eat and allowing drivers to drop off days’ worth of meals in one stop. “Delivering a hot meal to someone feels so good,” says Dorella Walters, senior director of program services, “but clients like to eat on their own schedule.”
GLWD also seized the opportunity to make the new kitchen more pleasurable to work in. While the old kitchen was in the basement, the present one, named for donors Alexandra and Steven Cohen, is on the second floor, surrounded by walls of glass and bathed in sunshine. (The bakery, on the same floor, is named for the late Joan Rivers, who was an ardent GLWD board member.) Cooks now enjoy abundant daylight, reducing the need for artificial illumination and thus lowering energy consumption while allowing volunteers to dice tomatoes and peppers as they survey the bustling SoHo streetscape. Just as important, passersby can observe the action unfolding within. “You see that this is an organization providing food and nutrition—with the help of the community, for the community,” Pearl says.
The charity is renowned for its personal approach, exemplified by heartfelt touches like the birthday cakes clients receive. A sophisticated and highly individualized nutrition program is another point of pride. Meals can be tailored to an impressive degree—no small task given that GLWD serves clients with more than 200 diagnoses—from low sodium to low sugar, and textures can even be adjusted for individuals requiring pureed or minced foods. Customization can be made depending on illness, medications, allergies, sensitivities, and, to some extent, even personal preferences. “We can modify almost every single component of the meal, every day, to give people the right food for their particular situation,” Pearl explains.
Since its founding in the early years of the AIDS crisis, GLWD has always sought to educate both its clients and other caregiving organizations on the different nutritional needs of people with compromised immune systems. In the past, that’s primarily been via publications, but the new headquarters now permits the staff to conduct on-site seminars. Housed on the fifth floor are the demonstration kitchen and a sunny event space with an adjacent terrace, which, along with the rooftop garden, was created pro bono by the landscape-design firm Sawyer|Berson. Among the first events the building hosted was a symposium for students of the Natural Gourmet Institute, a health-driven culinary school. Following a lecture, attendees headed to the roof garden to harvest herbs, after which they cooked (and tasted) wellness-focused meals. “We want to teach people that food can be really delicious and also help people cope with whatever they are struggling with,” Pearl says. “We are excited to share our knowledge so it can ripple out to others who are sick, not just our clients, and also to related organizations, nutritionists, chefs—all the way up the chain.”
That community-minded ethos extends to the needs of GLWD’s volunteer corps, currently 8,000 strong. Prime real estate—namely a glass-wrapped third-floor corner—was devoted to a cheerful lounge and terrace for their use (outfitted with Brown Jordan furniture). The roof garden was also largely devised with them in mind. “It was designed not just to provide fresh ingredients for the kitchen but to be an enjoyable experience for volunteers and staff,” says landscape designer Brian Sawyer. “The terrace enhances the staff’s workday, allowing the volunteers to feel more involved with the building and to strengthen their social ties and commitments to the charity’s mission.”
GLWD’s full-time employees work at sleek Knoll desks, seated in ergonomic Aeron chairs donated by Condé Nast, the parent company of Architectural Digest. “Everyone has a really great environment, thanks to all of our partners and benefactors who came together to realize the facility,” Pearl observes. “We feel so lucky and cared for.”