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Upstate selects In My Father’s Kitchen as its Your Cause charity for 2019

Team Upstate Your cause check

In My Father’s Kitchen, a local non-profit organization that offers help to homeless people through direct street outreach, such as by providing meals and basic necessities, has been selected by Team Upstate as the university’s 2019 Your Cause agency.

Team Upstate introduced the Your Cause program in 2015 as a way to acknowledge and feature the volunteer work performed by the Upstate family. Your Cause agencies are nominated by Upstate employees and selected by Team Upstate.

In selecting In My Father’s Kitchen (IMFK), Upstate has pledged to assist the agency with volunteer support as well provide the organization with up to $5,000 in funding through 2019.

John Tumino gave up his job as the chef at Asti Caffe in 2011 to create IMFK. An ordained minister, Tumino was moved by the plight of the homeless, especially the sentiment that these men and women were invisible. “These individuals are not invisible,” he said. “I see them and I want to feed them.”

And he did. Tumino, his wife and his army of volunteers—more than 70 sous chefs—have been at work caring for those without homes—those “living under the bridges.” Tumino’s food delivery comes with a side of compassion as he opens a trusting relationship with those he feeds.

The work of IMFK doesn’t end with meals. The organization has helped acquire housing for many individuals and, more recently, has provided them with a visit from a physician.

Partnering with Upstate Medical University Distinguished Service Professor David Lehmann, MD, PharmD, IMFK provided house calls to the homeless. During some of his visits with the homeless people, Tumino is joined by Lehmann who helps address some of the medical concerns folks have.

Other events and programs offered by IMFK include a clothing drive coordinated through churches that support refugee families.

“Being selected as the 2019 Your Cause charity is an honor that In My Father’s Kitchen is pleased to receive,” Tumino said. “Through Upstate’s generosity and its commitment to working with us, we will most certainly demonstrate to those in need that they are not invisible. We see them and together we can help.”

“We’re impressed by the work of In My Father’s Kitchen and the compassionate and caring way it supports individuals in our community,” said Zanette Howe, chair of Team Upstate and director of community relations. “We look forward to working together.”

Howe said the Upstate community will be notified how to participate in activities that support In My Father’s Kitchen throughout the year.

Previous agencies that were selected as Your Cause partners are Clear Path for Veterans, OnPoint for College and Chadwick Residence.

Team Upstate works to promote public awareness of Upstate’s contributions to the community and to encourage volunteer participation among Upstate students, staff, faculty and retirees. Team Upstate sponsors activities and events annually that promote quality of life and maintain Upstate’s mission, vision and values.

Caption: From left, Zanette Howe, director of community relations and chair of Team Upstate; Interim President Mantosh Dewan, MD; John Tumino, director of In My Father’s Kitchen; Sunny Aslam, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry who nominated In My Father’s Kitchen for Your Cause; and Linda Veit, Upstate chief of staff.