Today’s Update

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation…”

–Audre Lorde via Pieranna

Let’s start with the good news, last night the Artisanal Holiday Market led by Lea Avroch made $725 and with additional donations, the total is over $800.  Tomorrow after work I will be visiting Maggie Quiles in Coney Island with the donation along with a large amount of pantry items to support them in feeding their community and rebuilding.  Thank you to everyone that donated items and bought all of the beautiful work.

On to the not so great news, I learned an important lesson the last couple of days: take care of yourself or you can’t take care of anyone else.  I was badly burned from a pot of boiling water three weeks ago, and in the rush of cooking and getting food out, I didn’t go to the doctor.  Which led to an infection that put me in the ER last night and gave me a ridiculously itchy/painful allergic reaction all over my body.  No sleep in two days and 7 hours in an emergency room have cured me of my belief that I can power through everything and anything.  I am home and recovering and will do a much better job of taking care of myself here on out because I truly believe in the work we are doing.

If you would like to donate any high needs items, pantry items, or money to add to the haul going out to Coney Island tomorrow, please use the contact page or email me at uwsloves2 @ I will be leaving at 6:30 and any additional support I can bring them is appreciated.



A different kind of busy

It’s been a different kind of busy at UWSLoves the last couple of days as Carlos and I spent the last 72 hours completing the e-cookbook, which is 85 pages and looks beautiful.  Thank you to everyone that donated recipes, photos, and/or stories.  We will be working with Blossom to sell the cookbook and all proceeds will directly go to our continued efforts to support those affected by Hurricane Sandy.  All costs have been donated, so thank you to the Blossom team and Carlos!

Here’s a preview of the cover art:

We also still have our two major fundraisers going on.  The first of which is the 4-Toonist auction on Ebay, so far 8 of the 9 pieces have bids, and we should be able to make a lot of money over the next week.

The second fundraiser, an artisanal holiday gift market, is up and running and all of the pieces are beautiful.  Many artisans have donated their pieces and the cost of shipping, and ALL raised money will go to the church of Iglesia Pentecostal de Jesucristo Cristo Viene on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island.  Maggie, the wife of the reverend, has been leading the charge to feed those still reeling from the destruction multiple times a day.  I will bring the check with me on Wednesday along with a special surprise for her.  This money will go to support their continued meal service as well as provide money to defer the costs of rebuilding the church, which was badly damaged in the storm, so they can continue to provide such great services to the community and ensure that everyone is safe.

Tomorrow I will speak to the leader of BK Girls Gives Back about further relief efforts, so I’ll update the blog when I know what our continued efforts will look like. Thank you all for the continued support as we chug along.

Artisan Sale for UWSLoves

One of our most ardent supporters and mother of Justin, who helped us take food out to Staten Island last week, Lea Avroch, has put together a sale of artisanal jewelry, beads, and accessories. The pieces are beautiful and all proceeds go directly to UWSLoves Winter Wishes project.  You can click here to go directly to the sale.

The sale is on facebook, which allows for less fees, and it’s super easy to bid. There are two options for each piece: bidding and buy it now. If you would like to live on the wild side, you can bid on the item by choosing the picture and seeing what bids are already there and place a new bid.  This will continue until the sale is over on Monday at 9pm.

The second option is to take the piece for the “buy it now” price, which will mean the item is yours and you have a beautiful hand-made accessorie that brings gifts and stockings to children/teens affected by Hurricane Sandy.

In the gallery you will see all the pictures of the items with the link to each, so you can click on each one and bid directly.  For most of the items shipping is free, so that’s an added perk.

Please share with friends and family!

4-Toonist Art Auction Goes Live

I’m very excited to say that we have our 4-Toonist Art Auction up and running on e-Bay (and we got our first bid).  This 7 day auction will directly benefit UWSLoves as we continue to support those that have been affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Here are the links to the listings!

Jeff Zapata’s Wacky Packages Sketch Card

Brent Engstrom’s Wacky Packages Sketch Card

Neil Camera’s Wacky Packages Sketch Card

Jay Lynch Wacky Packages Sketch Card

Jay Lynch Self Portrait

Jay Lynch Wee Woo

Jay Lynch Squeeze Head

Jeff Zapata Mars Attack Giant Sketch Card

Many thanks go to the artists, especially Jeff Zapata, who is the artist and mastermind behind this fundraiser!

What We’re doing on Black Friday: NY Cares Winter Wish Program

NYCares is a terrific organization that provides volunteer opportunities and support to New Yorkers all year around, and each holiday season, they do a Winter Wishes program.  This year they had over 7,000 requests for gifts, and I am happy to note that all of the children’s requests have been taken care of by wonderful people around the 5 boroughs.

They still have teen requests left, so UWSLoves has taken 24 of those wishes and will buy gifts of approximately $40 dollars per teen.  I am hoping to organize a wrapping party at my place after the gifts have been bought as well as partnering with a high school in the Bronx called TapCo to make stockings for each of the 24 wishers (Updated: TapCo is on board, and they have stockings and stuffers on their way to their Principal, Ron Link, now).

This is only the first of many holiday projects for UWSLoves, so if you have any ideas for a project, please send them by.  Also look out later today for the 4-Toonist auction on E-bay.  More donations mean the more people we can positively impact!

What I am Thankful for

Today I was lucky to be able to spend Thanksgiving with many of my loved ones at my grandmothers house.  We had wonderful food made by my Aunt Ellen, Cousin Jackie, and Grandmother Gloria (Nannie to me), and it was the first time in weeks that I wasn’t the one cooking.  But today, I got to serve those that I love and who have helped make me the person that I am today.

This holiday was set to be a rough one because in April we lost my grandfather Marvin (Poppie). He was diagnosed with cancer in November of last year and was taken from us very quickly.  My grandfather was a determined, successful, and funny man (although I never got his jokes and he often told me I had no sense of humor).  He and my grandmother traveled all over the world, whether it be Hong Kong for work or Antartica on one of his 80+ cruises.  He wasn’t big on holidays that gifts were given, but he loved to eat and be with his family, and Thanksgiving was always an important day.

Many of us were dreading this day because he left a hole in our family, but an amazing thing happened, not one tear was shed and we all celebrated each other and his memory.  The food occupied his spot, which I served from, and I know he guided my hand.

When it was time for everyone to leave, my grandmother and I put on our pajamas (well, I actually wear one of her nightgowns when I visit) and watched a silly movie.  It was terrific to hear her laugh and at the very end of the movie, a lounge singer crooned a 1950’s classic.  I helped my grandma out of her chair and we danced.  I don’t know if I can express just how thankful I am to have been able to do that with her at the end of such a potentially difficult day.

I am a lucky girl to have had such amazing parents and grandparents, who have instilled in me the necessity in treating those around me with kindness and empathy.  I am thankful for them.

On a similar note, thank you to everyone that has donated their time, food, money, cars, supplies, and support.  You have all made this possible, and I thank you. I can only hope that you all had as good of a day as I did.


What’s in store for UWSLoves

It’s hard to believe that UWSLoves isn’t even three weeks old, considering how much we have been able to accomplish  Over that time we have made and delivered food 12 of the 19 days, had over 40 volunteers, sent at least two large loads of supplies out, and brought comfort to Far Rockaway, Staten Island, Coney Island, and many areas of Brooklyn.

The work is not done and UWSLoves continues to support those affected by Hurricane Sandy.  More food will be made and delivered, and with the holiday season in full swing the focus will be on bringing comfort and cheer to as many as possible.  If you have any information about a great organization to partner with please use the contact form to get in touch.

Now on to the exciting part:

  1. This Friday UWSLoves will launch an art auction of the work of Jeff Zapata, Jay Lynch, Neil Camera, and Brent Engstrom.  Jeff is the mastermind behind this auction and all the thanks go to him.  He is famous for his work with Wacky Packages and Garbage Pail Kids, where he worked with Neil and Brent.  Jay Lynch is a cartoonist that has many claims to fame including work with Mad and Bijou Funnies.  They are donating some of their one-of-a-kind work to UWSLoves, which will receive all proceeds.  On Wednesday, there will be more information about the auction.  A Black Friday sale that helps people.  What could be better than that?  Read more about it here.
  2. 2. Secondly, we are working with a wonderful company called Blossom that focuses on mindful eating to publish an e-cookbook that features the recipes and stories of UWSLoves.  All of the recipes featured we have cooked and distributed, have been donated by our community partners/donors, or been inspired by our work (check out the PB and Nutella stuffed French Toast based on our favorite sandwich).  The e-cookbook will be available to download for a donation and ALL proceeds will go to supporting the work of UWSLoves.  All production and advertising costs are being donated by Mandy, Carlos (who’s designing the book), and Blossom.  We are aiming to have this done by early next week, so please check back here and at Blossom for more information.

As the holiday approaches, we want to say thank you to everyone that has helped in any way whether it was with UWSLoves or with any other organization.  The community that has been built during this tragedy is truly amazing, and we are honored to be a part of it.