My grandmother Louise passed away last year at 93 years old. From a family of 13 children, she was the only one to finish high school, and went to work shortly thereafter to help support them. She constantly stressed education and hard work and was a portrait of inner-strength. My grandmother often regaled us with stories of a life rich with love and accomplishment, rewards not easily earned. A talented designer and dressmaker, she had applied her skills to everything from sewing parachutes in World War II to designing and making dresses, including my mother’s wedding dress. With her husband by her side, she raised four children, acting both as the cook and the family accountant, managing to save enough money to buy a home, which outside of the success of her children and grandchildren, was one of her proudest achievements. My grandmother was also a force in the kitchen, an artisan of la cucina povera: amazingly flavorful dishes made from inexpensive but fresh ingredients.
In honor of my grandmother, my family recently created Louise’s Pantry, a subset of Nazareth Housing in the East Village of New York City to celebrate the way she lived her life and to pay forward the goodness she brought into the world. Louise’s Pantry provides food and housing counseling, as well as assistance with financial literacy and job readiness to those less fortunate. A simple recipe from my grandmother is provided with each pantry bag, so not only do we help to feed the less fortunate but also educate families on how to eat well on a tight budget.
For more information please visit Nazareth Housing NYC.
Or to donate, please use the online donation form.