Photo Flash: Tony Danza Spends Thanksgiving Day With Encore Seniors At St. Malachy's
Encore Community Services has been providing care and service to the elderly of the Clinton/Times Square/Midtown communities for 43 years. Encore was founded in 1977 by Father George Moore, the pastor of St. Malachy's Church. He, along with Sisters Elizabeth Hasslet and Lillian McNamara, and members of the Broadway community (including The Shubert Organization, Sardi's and the theatrical unions) turned the old Actor's Chapel in the basement of St. Malachy's into the Encore Senior Center, where it still thrives today.
On Thanksgiving Day, the Encore Senior Center was transformed into a festive holiday dining hall with Sergio Reyes on Violin and Emilio Teubal on piano. An army of Encore and City Meals volunteers were on hand to serve the Encore seniors turkey dinners with all the trimmings, generously donated by St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters and City Meals on Wheels.
Seniors were surprised by television and Broadway star Tony Danza, who spent the morning of the first seating serving string beans in the kitchen and then mingling with the seniors while they enjoyed their meals in the dining hall.
With home delivered meals and over the course of two seatings, roughly 600 meals were served on Thanksgiving. 800 Thanksgiving meals were delivered on Wednesday to homebound seniors.
Homebound seniors over the age of 60 living within the boundaries of 14th to 110th Street, from 5th Avenue to the Hudson River, are eligible for this program. The Center serves breakfast and lunch for 200 seniors each day and approximately 1600 hot meals are delivered for frail and homebound seniors who are unable to attend the Center, as part of Encore's Home Delivered Meals Program. Over the course of the year, over 400,000 or close to half a million meals are provided for Encore seniors.
Encore Community Services recently hosted Encore Ovation - A Celebration of Aging Through Art at Sardi's on November 18. The evening included cocktails and hors d' oeuvres and featured artwork and entertainment by talented aging New Yorkers who are members of Encore's community.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Father George Moore Artistic Impact Awards to André De Shields who celebrated the 50th year of his acting career in 2019 by scoring his first Tony Award, for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for his role as Hermes in Hadestown. He is also an Emmy and Obie Award-winner, singer, director, dancer, choreographer, lyricist, composer, novelist and college professor; renowned artist Philip Pearlstein, an American painter widely regarded as one the greatest figurative artists of the last century; and Creative Director Sandra DiPasqua, who has also been volunteering her time and talents to the Encore Senior Center for over 10 years, leading its successful and therapeutic Writer's Group. Honorary chairs Philip J. Smith, Chairman, and Robert E. Wankel, President, of The Shubert Organization, were also honored with the 2019 Father George Moore Community Impact Award.
Father Moore was a dynamic and charismatic leader, a tireless champion for the homeless and elderly, as well as an integral part of the Broadway community. He received an honorary Tony-Award posthumously (in 1991), for his visionary work, his dedication to the arts and his commitment to the people of the Times Square, Hell's Kitchen and Broadway communities.
The mission of Encore Community Services is to provide care and service to any elderly person who needs us; to assist those who are vulnerable and frail, poor and homeless, homebound and lonely, frequently-desperate, most-often ignored; to help them with their daily needs so that they might live as independently as possible, with dignity and decency, in a non-institutional manner, in a safe and caring environment. We believe we are all part of the human family and have an obligation to love one another. By nurturing, respecting and enabling, Encore hopes to improve the quality of an older person's life, using an approach that emanates from the core of Encore's commitment: We believe that what we do comes from the heart, and the heart is the center of all. www.encorenyc.org
Photo Credit: Lia Chang
Tony Danza and Encore seniors
Tony Danza in the kitchen at Encore Senior Center's Thanksgiving Day at St. Malachy
Tony Danza with Encore and City Meals volunteers
Encore Senior Center on Thanksgiving Day
The kitchen staff
Rev. John Frasier, Pastor of St. Malachy
Kris and Joe Valentino, Trustee of Local 1
Sergio Reyes on Violin and Emilio Teubal on Piano
Encore Community Center staff members Gigi Verkaik, Judy Castillo, Hector Arias, Jose Lewis Sanchez
Encore Senior Center on Thanksgiving Day
Encore Community Center Board member Robert Score
Tony Danza with the kitchen staff
Tony Danza with volunteers
Sister Peggy and an Encore senior
Haviland and Robert Score
Encore Ovation honorees Andre De Shields, Sandra DiPasqua, Philip Pearlstein with Encore Community Services Executive Director Jeremy L. Kaplan at the Encore Ovation at Sardi's on November 18, 2019.
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