Monthly Archives: July 2012

Sylvia’s Soul Food Owner Dead at 86: Harlem Loses the Queen of Soul Food

As Posted on PolicyMic

Seldom do we ever hear of a non-chain restaurant that is able to transcend the local mom and pop world and become a cultural icon. But a Harlem woman of humble beginnings was able to take a small luncheonette in 1962 and build an empire through soulfulness and congeniality. Sylvia Woods, the Queen of Soul Food, became a household name for serving the best soul food around;  and she did it all with a trademark smile and caring heart. This past Thursday, Woods died at the age of 86. She is survived by four children, 18 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.

Some people may make the mistake of quickly glancing over Woods’ death in the headlines and completely missing out on how much of an impact she has had on the African American community and beyond. People from all around the country are likely to have a Sylvia story. I remember my family rushing to grab a sweat potato pie and waiting on Sylvia’s trademark long lines after we weren’t able to bake dessert in time for our fourth of July cookout. There was also all the commotion around town when Sylvia finally acquired space in Brooklyn during Brooklyn’s revitalization in the late 1990’s; saving us all the long subway ride up to Harlem. Even New York City hip hop mogul Funk Master Flex gave Sylvia constant shout outs and accolades on his Hot 97 radio show. And of course, every New Yorker knows that Harlem resident, and jazz enthusiast, Bill Clinton frequent Sylvia’s, even during his trips to New York as president.

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Filed under Culture, Policymic, Race

Eat Up! Foodlnk Kickoffs Summer Meals with Rochester Rhinos

As Published in the Democrat and Chronicle’s Young Professionals’ Blog

Three-hundred eighty Rochester youth were served summer meals from Freshwise Kitchen, Foodlink’s catering company, at last week’s Summer Meals kickoff at Excellus’ Rhino Stadium. Participant’s enjoyed a wholesome main dish of chicken, baked potatoes, apples, cold slaw, whole wheat rolls and chocolate milk, along with a hearty side order of hopscotch, double-dutch, face painting, inflatable play space and soccer with the Rhinos’ team. If that weren’t enough, Rochester’s youth and their chaperons were even given goody bags and two free tickets apiece to either the Rochester Rhinos’ game from this past Saturday or the Rattlers’ Lacrosse for Friday night.

The kickoff epitomized what a young active and healthy day looks and feels like— even beneath the blistering sun. As an AmeriCorp VISTA, hunger advocate and gym enthusiasts, I had a great time double dutching — or at least “twirling” (turning the rope) — with the kids and sharing a few laughs. It’s both fulfilling and daunting to know that so many of our youth live in households that rely on Foodlink and school meals to provide the most basic living necessity of all: food.

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Filed under Democrat and Chronicle, Health, Philanthropy, Social Justice