Tyrone Reese, deputy director of food services at the Goodman Community Center on the east side of Madison, has been nominated for the New York Life Foundation’s Love Takes Action Award for the work he and his team have done throughout the year. COVID-19 pandemic to provide meals and groceries to children, families, seniors and others in the North and East Sides of Madison.
“It’s a bit surreal because it came out of nowhere. We’ve been making meal packs for over a year now. It came at a time when I really wasn’t expecting anything, but I’m truly grateful for this honor, ”Reese told Madison365.
New York Life agents and employees can nominate people for the Love Takes Action Awards. There are 20 people from across the country who embody the value of ‘agápē’ or ‘Love taking action’, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or in advancing social and racial justice, who will be honored. Reese was appointed by Goodman CEO Letesha Nelson.
“Being nominated by the most senior person in our organization… that’s something that really made me step back and really look at my work,” Reese says. “I go to work every day and I know that the work I do every day is part of who I am. Taking a step back and having the chance to see things from a different perspective highlights the amount of work we actually do and the number of lives we affect and touch by the work we do here.
“As a general rule, my position is to make sure that everyone gets a healthy meal in our organization and our child care program – we have after school programs, we have high schools and various other programs and camps, ”he adds. “My job is to make sure all food is ordered and everyone can eat healthy, nutritious meals throughout the day. “
As the Assistant Director of Food Services at Goodman, Reese has many responsibilities to ensure that thousands of people are fed. When the pandemic arrived, they saw that more and more families were in need.
“We started releasing 600 meal packs and that really got the ball rolling. We basically created a system where we prepared all of our food, chilled it, wrapped it in Styrofoam containers with labels on how to reheat the contents of each package, ”Reese recalls. “We kept growing from there as things started to improve and things finally started to open up and the young children came back to the center. We were able to support the children here, but there were still many families who would not allow their children to return to the center or were facing obstacles – financial and otherwise – so we continued with the meal packs.
Reese was instrumental in the development and execution of Goodman’s meal delivery program, which provided more than 150,000 meals to program participants, seniors and families from March of last year to April of this year, according to the Goodman Community Center.
“I was blown away by these numbers when I learned how many meals we had provided,” he says. “Just seeing the numbers really puts everything in perspective. We have really made a difference in this community.
If Tyrone is selected as the recipient of this award, the Goodman Community Center will receive $ 25,000 – one of 20 awards given nationally by the New York Life Foundation.
“I know if we got more money it would be a big deal and it would allow us to create more programs and do more things,” he says. “I’m actually looking to start a program to help feed the homeless in Madison, because most of our programs and the things we do in the community are about youth, child care, or the elderly. I just want to create a platform where we can go out and help other people in our community, especially the homeless. I wish some of the money could be used to start a pilot program on this and see how it goes.
New York-based New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States and one of the largest life insurers in the world.
“I am truly honored to be nominated for this New York Life award. Over the past two weeks, I’ve received tons of support calls and messages, ”Reese says. “It’s just amazing to feel this love. I know all of my instructors at Madison College – that’s where I took the culinary program – have commented on my Facebook page. They were really proud of me. It feels good.
“It’s surreal,” he adds. “I always take everything.”