Photo by Jessica Frankl
At the groundbreaking for the God’s Love We Deliver headquarters vertical expansion and renovation, from left, Karen Pearl, God’s Love We Deliver president and C.E.O.; Michael Kors, fashion designer and G.L.W.D. board member; Blaine Trump, G.L.W.D. board vice chairperson; comic Joan Rivers, a G.L.W.D. board member; Scott Bruckner, G.L.W.D. board chairperson; and Mike Moran, a member of the G.L.W.D. Chairman’s Council.
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Joan Rivers emceed and Michael Kors spoke at Wednesday’s groundbreaking event in Soho for the expansion and renovation of the God’s Love We Deliver building, at the corner of Spring St. and Sixth Ave. The comic and the fashion designer are both longtime supporters of the nonprofit, which cooks and delivers meals to people living with severe illnesses in the metropolitan area.
The G.L.W.D. project will more than double both the organization’s space — from 18,000 square feet to more than 44,000 square feet — and its capacity to prepare meals — from 1 million to 2 million meals a year.
“Today marks the beginning of a project of great significance to not only all of us at God’s Love, but to a growing number of people across the metropolitan area who rely on our services,” said Karen Pearl, president and C.E.O. of God’s Love We Deliver.
The God’s Love expansion project was made possible, in part, by a city grant and private gifts, including $5 million from Kors, who was named to the group’s board of directors earlier this year. In recognition of Kors’s contribution to the expansion project, the new facility, designed by Gerner Kronick and Valcarcel, will be named in his honor.
The project also benefited from G.L.W.D.’s sale of several million dollars’ worth of air rights to the adjacent One Vandam luxury residential high-rise project.
Signifying construction’s start at the God’s Love Sixth Ave. facility, guests of the ceremony used giant knives to cut an equally giant cake with an image of the future building.
“I’ve loved and worked for God’s Love We Deliver for many years, and I know how important their nutritious, individually tailored meals are for our neighbors who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves,” said Rivers. “Today’s expansion is the beginning step toward fulfilling a dream for all of us associated with this wonderful charity.”
“I am so excited to be here today to break ground on the Michael Kors Building for God’s Love We Deliver,” Kors said. “I’ve been working with God’s Love for over 20 years now, and I’ve always been amazed by the work that they do. With this expansion, I know that we can help feed even more people and continue to reach all of those in need.”
The God’s Love expansion, which is expected to be completed in late 2014 or early 2015, comes as demand for the organization’s services is up by more than 60 percent in five years, according to G.L.W.D. Without a significant increase in space in the immediate future, God’s Love would — for the first time in the organization’s 28 years — be forced to have a waiting list for clients.
During the renovation, God’s Love has temporarily relocated to South Williamsburg in Brooklyn, so that the organization’s services can continue uninterrupted.
Begun as an H.I.V./AIDS service organization, today God’s Love provides for people living with more than 200 individual diagnoses. Meals are individually tailored for each client by one of the organization’s registered dietitians, and all clients have access to unlimited nutrition counseling. All of the agency’s services are provided free of charge.
Soho neighbors are suing over the city’s approval of the air-rights transfer from the G.L.W.D. site to the One Vandam project, charging that a deed restriction on the former prohibits it.