Fall Kickoff and Networking Event

27 Sep 2020 9:41 PM | Anonymous

WRDA Fall 2020 Kickoff and Networking Event

Kristen Nicolai, WRDA Student Volunteer

Hunter College Graduate Student, MS 2022

The Westchester Rockland Dietetic Association’s (WRDA) kickoff and networking event was held virtually on September 23, 2020. The event focused on food insecurity, highlighting the response of local community agencies during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

To start off the event, Amy Habeck, WRDA’s president, spoke about food insecurity in Westchester and Rockland, and the impact the current pandemic has had on access to food. The potential nutrition and health related risks that could impact our communities were also discussed.

The presenting community organizations and speakers for the event included:

Agency: NourishAll

Presenter: Julie Konvisser, Director of Community Engagement, City of New Rochelle

Agency: Proyecto Faro

Presenter: Charo Ureña, Director/Lead Organizer

Agency: Second Chance Foods

Presenter: Martha Elder, Executive Director

Agency: Centro de Amigos

Presenter: Doris Karpeh-Diaz, Director

Each speaker presented how they are providing inventive programming for their communities, along with food assistance during COVID-19. Julie Konvisser discussed how NourishAll works to purchase gift cards from local restaurants and distribute to community and city agencies, serving vulnerable residents of New Rochelle. In total, this program was able to help sustain local businesses, while serving 9,429 total recipients, and distributed $471,450 gift cards. Proyecto Faro spoke of the work to support the needs of the undocumented community in Rockland County, and the pandemic food program that was implemented to deliver healthy food packages to immigrant families on a weekly basis through the help of local organizations. Martha Elder discussed the ways Second Chance Foods works to reduce food waste and expanded their distribution of recovered food to families in the area by starting their own Summer Meals Program. Finally, Doris Karpeh-Diaz of Centro de Amigos, an adult social day center dedicated to the Latino and Hispanic community of Rockland and Haverstraw, discussed the ways senior citizens have been impacted during the pandemic due to the lack of community support, and the work of the organization to provide this population with the care they need.

After the presentations, members were able to move to break out rooms and discussed ways to support the efforts of these community outreach organizations and how to integrate this information into professional practice.

For more information on how to volunteer, donate, or learn more about these local community organizations, please visit their websites:


Proyecto Faro

Second Chance Foods

Centro de Amigos

Email: wrdaboard@gmail.com
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