https://www.glwd.org/about-us/history/

History

In 1985, a hospice volunteer named Ganga Stone paid a visit to an AIDS patient that changed her life. The patient, Richard Sale, was too ill to cook for himself. Ganga’s compassion took hold, a meal was prepared and delivered on the next visit, and an epiphany was born: Something as basic as delivering a meal could bring dignity and recognition to a desperate situation.

Ganga’s experience then drove her to a second epiphany. The severity of Richard’s situation demanded something more than simply delivering food. It required preparing nutritionally-tailored meals that would support an individual’s specific medical treatment. She researched his needs and was on her way again, with a new meal in hand, when she was stopped by a minister in the neighborhood who recognized her. He asked what she was doing, she told him, and he replied, “you’re not just delivering food … you’re delivering God’s love.”

And Ganga said, “That’s the name.” And God’s Love We Deliver was born.

Timeline

1985

Hospice volunteer Ganga Stone delivers a meal to Richard, a man living with AIDS. He is too ill to prepare the packaged food she has brought him.

1986

God's Love We Deliver is co-founded by Ganga Stone and Jane Best. Restaurant Claire begins donating prepared meals that Ganga and volunteers deliver daily - many by bicycle - to people living with AIDS in Manhattan. Other restaurants join in. Ganga and volunteers deliver an average of 50 meals per week.

1987

God's Love We Deliver moves into the kitchen of West Park Presbyterian Church at Amsterdam & 86th Street and begins delivering 50 meals per day. Gay Men's Chorus donates a walk-in freezer. Our first van, "Little Blue", is donated by then Borough President David Dinkins.

1988

God's Love begins feeding the children of our clients. Our second van, "Big Blue", was donated with the help of Mayor Koch.

1989

Honoring the growing number of dedicated volunteers, God's Love We Deliver hosts its first Volunteer Appreciation Party at West Park Presbyterian Church.

1990

Bloomingdales offers to cook the Thanksgiving turkeys for clients due to lack of kitchen space at God's Love We Deliver and Bid of Love Art Auction at Sotheby's raises $600,000 for God's Love We Deliver.

1991

Meals are being delivered to an average of 250 clients per day.

1991

Chuck "The Baker" Piekarski joins the staff and creates the recipe for Chuck's Famous Brownies.

1991

God's Love We Deliver moves to a larger rented kitchen space at the American Youth Hostel at Amsterdam and 103rd Street.

1991

Mayor Dinkins begins the mayoral tradition of delivering Thanksgiving meals.

1991

God's Love We Deliver receives first funding from Ryan White CARE Act.

1992

God's Love We Deliver establishes its Nutrition Department to help people living with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers receive information about the importance of nutrition on compromised immune systems.

1992

Friends Seminary in Manhattan begins the tradition of schoolchildren hand-decorating shopping bags in which God's Love We Deliver's holiday meals are delivered.

1992

God's Love We Deliver starts delivering two meals a day (lunch and dinner).

1993

God's Love We Deliver successfully bids on vacant building located at the corner of Spring Street and Sixth Avenue. Building is purchased from the city of New York. Capital Campaign to renovate and move into new building is launched.

1993

David Geffen provides God's Love We Deliver with a gift of $1.5 million to renovate the vacant building located at Spring Street and Sixth Avenue.

1993

Nutrition Department publishes "Living with HIV: A Nutrition Guide with Special Emphasis for People in Recovery." Thirteen additional guides are published over the next eight years.

1993

God's Love We Deliver initiates yearly fundraising events with the First Annual Race to Deliver.

1994

Kathy Spahn becomes Executive Director in May 1994. (pictured here with chefs Keith Berg, Mark Ski and Michael McCarthy)

1995

God's Love We Deliver delivers its one millionth meal.

1995

After Board members Joan Rivers and Blaine Trump participate in Groundbreaking Ceremony, God's Love We Deliver moves into its new home on World AIDS DAY, December 1.

1996

Ceramic wall tiles are sold as a fundraiser and are installed in the new SoHo kitchen.

1997

God's Love We Deliver delivers its two millionth meal.

1999

God's Love We Deliver celebrates ten years as one of the most popular volunteer sites chosen by college students for Alternate Spring Break.

2000

R&B singer Mary J. Blige presents a check to God's Love We Deliver for $50,000 on behalf of the MAC AIDS Fund.

2000

God's Love We Deliver delivers, on average, to over 1,000 clients per day.

2000

Nancy Mahon joins God's Love We Deliver as Executive Director in April 2000.

2000

God's Love We Deliver launches the first annual Midsummer Night Drinks. The party was hosted by Alan Rogers in Southampton. The second annual Midsummer Night Drinks was also hosted by Rogers in Southampton.

2001

God's Love We Deliver expands its mission to serve clients living with serious illnesses other than HIV/AIDS.

2001

God's Love We Deliver delivers its five millionth meal.

2001

God's Love We Deliver begins delivery of frozen meals.

2001

God's Love We Deliver prepares and delivers over 3,000 meals for search and rescue workers in the days following September 11.

2003

God's Love We Deliver client base reaches an average of 1,200 clients a day, a 23% increase from the year before.

2004

God's Love We Deliver moves its kitchen to Long Island City while it renovates its SoHo kitchen. The renovation improves capacity by 66% and lays the infrastructure for future growth.

2004

God's Love We Deliver reaches milestone of over 1,200 active volunteers each month.

2005

God's Love We Deliver initiates program for breast cancer clients and pilots caregiver meals program.

2005

God's Love We Deliver delivers its eight millionth meal.

2006

God's Love We Deliver celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

2006

With funding from 20th Anniversary Lead Corporate Partner, the MAC AIDS Fund, God's Love We Deliver provides meals and nutritional counseling to two AIDS service organizations in Newark, New Jersey.

2006

Karen Pearl becomes God's Love We Deliver's fourth President & CEO.

2007

God's Love We Deliver delivers its 9 millionth meal.

2007

In the wake of a Valentine's Day snowstorm, God's Love We Deliver raises over $34,000 in one afternoon to fund two emergency Blizzard Boxes filled with non-perishable food for each client.

2008

At the 2nd Annual Golden Heart Awards dinner, God's Love We Deliver honored Harry Slatkin, 7th On Sale and long-time volunteer Roz Gilbert.

2008

God's Love We Deliver prepares and delivers over 800,000 meals this year to 3635 clients, a 20% increase from the previous year.

2009

God's Love We Deliver commemorates the delivery of its 10 millionth meal with an event that included agency founder Ganga Stone, Blaine Trump, Joan Rivers, Estée Lauder Group President John Demsey, Anna Wintour and many other notable guests.

2009

To meet the changing needs of our clients, God's Love We Deliver moves forward on its plan to deliver more chilled and frozen meals. This is made possible by generous grants from Feeding America and the Judith C. White Foundation.

2010

God's Love is a winner of the prestigious New York Times Company Nonprofit Excellence Award.

2010

God's Love rolls out an enhanced children's menu with kid-friendly breakfast, snack and dinner.

2011

God's Love kicks off its 25 year anniversary by ringing the NASDAQ Closing Bell on Thursday, April 7, 2011.

2011

God's Love reaches an agency record and delivers over one million meals in one year, for a grand total of 1,000,732 meals.

2011

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn made a special meal delivery to mark our 25th anniversary.

2011

God's Love We Deliver launches $25 million Expansion Campaign.

2012

At our Sixth Annual Golden Heart Awards, Michael Kors, the world-renowned, award-winning designer announced his $5 million gift to our Expansion Campaign. With this donation, our $25 million campaign, launched at the previous year's Awards, reached its $20 million mark, ensuring that we could move forward with our expansion project.

2012

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy's destruction, God's Love delivered 8,000 meals to people displaced by Sandy and 2,300 emergency meal kits called "Sandy Bags" to our clients. We also cooked 200 meals that our friends at Douglas Elliman brought to a group of people they "adopted" in the Far Rockaways.

2013

God's Love moves to a new 20,000-square-foot temporary home at 630 Flushing Ave, in Williamsburg, a former Pfizer Inc. plant owned by Acumen Capital Partners. The move comes as we begin work on a $25 million renovation of our headquarters on Sixth Avenue in SoHo.

2014

God's Love We Deliver commemorates the delivery of its 15 millionth meal with an event that included Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, New York City Council Members Corey Johnson and Robert Cornegy, Sylvia Vogelman, a 22-year volunteer with over 2800 hours of service, Linda Fairstein, a wonderful board member, Michael Sennott, former Board chair for 10 years and current chair of our Expansion Campaign, and the incomparable Joan Rivers.

2015

On June 9, 2015, Michael Kors, Anna Wintour and Melissa Rivers joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and other notable New Yorkers as well as God's Love staff, donors, and volunteers to celebrate the dedication of The Michael Kors Building.

2015

After 22 months in our temporary Brooklyn location, we completed our move to our new home in The Michael Kors Building in SoHo. Our brand new, state-of-the-art, 9,600 sq. foot kitchen on the second floor has wonderful natural light, and includes four industrial-size refrigerators, three freezers, five blast freezers, five 80-gallon soup kettles, and a waste digester that converts up to 1,000 lbs. of organic food waste into disposable water. Every day, more and more sick and hungry New Yorkers reach out to God's Love looking for help. Our move to The Michael Kors Building allows us to continue to respond to the urgent needs of our clients for years to come.

2015

God's Love We Deliver celebrates our 30th anniversary on May 1, 2015. We began with the simple principle that no one should ever have to face the dual crises of illness and hunger. We brought meals to home-bound people living with HIV/AIDS. So much has changed in our 30 years, but our core values have not. Together, we are dedicated to cooking and delivering the individually-tailored meals and nutrition counseling our clients require at a time in their lives when they need it most. We do this - free of charge - with dignity, respect and compassion.

2016

In 2016, we had many enhancements in our program. We launched a new packaging system, known as the "Oliver" system, so that all of our entrees are now heat sealed in an air tight container, locking in moisture and freshness. Clients are able to see the meal through a clear film seal, making it easier to decide what to eat without having to take off the lid. We added a "soft diet" for clients who do not need a minced or pureed meal, but for whom chewing and swallowing our regular meals is too difficult. Developing more choices like this helps us continue to meet the needs of our growing senior population. We also expanded our reach, delivering to new clients in Westchester and Nassau counties.

2016

God's Love launched the God's Love We Deliver Cookbook.

2017

God's Love launched our 5th signature event, Love Rocks NYC! Performers included Joe Walsh, Mavis Staples, Jackson Browne, Warren Haynes, Billy Gibbons, Michael McDonald, Dr. John, Gary Clark Jr., Patty Smyth, Bruce Willis, John McEnroe, Bill Murray, Derek Trucks, Keb Mo, Aaron Neville, Lisa Fischer, Marc Cohn, Anthony Hamilton, CeCe Winans, Susan Tedeschi, William Bell, Amy Helm, Blind Boys of Alabama, Jackie Greene, Sam Moore, Catherine Russell, Joan Osborne, Tash Neal & Marcus King.

2017

On September 28, 2017, we cooked and delivered our 20 millionth meal!

2018

In May, we launched our first-ever subway campaign "1 of 10,000" featuring stories of our 10,000 volunteers. Read about the campaign here and watch our campaign video here.

2018

In January, Congressman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, the founder and co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus and great friend of God’s Love We Deliver, hosted a Congressional Briefing to launch the new bipartisan Food is Medicine Working Group. Through this partnership, we helped plan and execute the second Food is Medicine Congressional Briefing in May.

2018

We launched a PSA that ran nationally in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Healthcare Starts with Healthy Food"

Video Archives

1987 God's Love We Deliver on CNN Business News

Published on Jul 31, 1987

Jan Hopkins interviews co-founder Jane Best about her work at God's Love We Deliver.

1991 Food Is Love With God's Love We Deliver

Published on Jul 31, 1991

Check out our 1991 video featuring with founder Ganga Stone.

2005 PSA

Published on Aug 2, 2005

"People are what put the love in God's Love We Deliver." Check out our 2005 promotion video featuring clients, volunteers, and staff members! At this time in our history, we had served over 7.5 million meals!

God's Love We Deliver: Delivering a Promise

Published on Oct 21, 2009

God's Love We Deliver provides delicious meals and nutritional counseling to men, women, and children living with life-altering illnesses including HIV/AIDS and cancer.

Blaine Trump Discussing God's Love We Deliver on the Nightly News with Chuck Scarborough

Published on Oct 15, 2009

Blaine Trump was on the Nightly News with Chuck Scarborough to discuss the commemoration of God's Love We Deliver's ten millionth meal delivery on June 23, 2009.

God's Love We Deliver 2008

Published on Oct 23, 2009

Our 2008 agency video, narrated by actress Natasha Richardson

Joan Rivers and The Celebrity Apprentice

Published on Nov 10, 2010

On May 10, 2009, Joan Rivers won The Celebrity Apprentice. View her video here!

Joan Rivers: Forever in our hearts

Published on Oct 17, 2014

At the 2014 Golden Heart Awards, we premiered our tribute video to Joan Rivers. In September, God's Love We Deliver lost Board member, former Golden Heart Award recipient and great friend Joan Rivers. After 27 years of amazing service and support to God's Love, she will never be forgotten.