Our GOSO Justice Transformer of the Month series continues, recognizing individuals from our community who are working to create a more equitable and vibrant world. Sara VanWiechen is a vital part of the team at Great Performances NYC, a catering and events company with a socially-responsible bent. During such a challenging time in our country, food insecurity is one more issue that has been brought to the forefront in our minds.
We have been so grateful to Sara and the team at Great Performances for providing GOSO participants with healthy, fresh, and delicious packaged meals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Great Performances takes great pride in supporting the employment goals and artistic endeavors of the community-based organizations they partner with, but also supports the creative passions of its staff through its Artistic Fellowship Awards.
How did you learn about GOSO and its mission?
One of our directors, Jennifer, introduced me to GOSO when we started emergency meal deliveries back in 2020. It was so nice to learn about GOSO’s amazing mission and the many great programs you offer. We are thankful to have been able to work with and support your team over the last year and a half. Everyone on your team that I have communicated with or met in person has been wonderful.
How did you get involved in culinary work?
I have been in the event planning industry for many years and was fortunate to be hired by Great Performances when I moved to NYC from Canada in 2017.
It has been a lot of fun, and I’ve learned and grown a lot professionally over the last few years!
What does feeding hungry New Yorkers during the holidays mean to you, especially after the last two years?
The pandemic definitely opened my eyes to the many people experiencing food insecurity, which was already a challenge pre-covid. It has been very rewarding to be able to work for a company that has made huge efforts to assist those in need over the last two years, and to see the impact it has made.
How can ordinary people organize and help out the least fortunate during another challenging holiday season?
Volunteer! Not everyone has the ability to donate financially to a cause, but a few hours of your time can make a difference. There are so many great organizations that need helping hands, and many are facing volunteer shortages and therefore have had to close or reduce their hours. Stay informed on the issues and educate yourself, advocate and raise awareness.
Do you have a personal motto that guides you in your daily life? What keeps you focused and motivated during challenging times?
Positivity goes a long way, don’t dwell on the negative. It can be easy to get discouraged during tough times, but even mistakes can be learning moments and opportunities to grow. I try to focus on the end goal, and remember to celebrate small victories along the way to stay motivated.