As many of you may already know, my sweet husband of 41 years (Gene) suddenly and very unexpectedly passed away on Dec 1, 2021 due to complications during back surgery.
Dealing with this heart-wrenching loss along with trying to navigate our new family wood-fired pizza business (my husband’s dream for over 30 years), left little to no time (or emotional energy) for me to effectively continue in my role as Director of Grateful Hearts.
As a result, Amy Ovando ( previously our operations manager) graciously stepped in to take on the challenge of interim Director in my absence.
I have been receiving many questions as to the status of Grateful Hearts; whether we are still distributing food etc., so I thought this would be a good time to not only introduce Amy, but to inform you all that Grateful Hearts continues to feed hundreds each week as well as provide many other essential items to individuals and families in need, including US Veterans, the elderly, those experiencing homelessness, mental health issues and other special needs.
I do not want to neglect stating that my unfortunate personal circumstances and rather abrupt departure from my role as Director has made things extremely difficult for Amy and the very small GH staff.
I felt it important to bring clarity to our situation, as it is a most crucial time for Grateful Hearts, and I am personally asking for your support.
I have never viewed GH as “mine” but rather something God allowed me to pioneer and steward for these past 23 years. (this past Dec 1st was the 23rd anniversary of GH, and consequently, the very day my husband stepped into eternity).
I am still very much involved with Grateful Hearts as I am currently acting as president of the board. I continue to carry the mission deep in my heart of “providing hope for the hurting.” This mission is demonstrated through “seeing” those who many times are not seen, and valuing them by meeting their physical, emotional and spiritual needs to the best of our ability and according to the resources we have on hand.
Unfortunately, we are no longer participants in what was our largest fundraiser for many years, the Long Beach Marathon. Despite time restraints, we are regrouping to establish new fundraisers such as weekly parking lot sales and restaurant partnership fundraisers.
It is my hope and prayer that you, our friends and partners, will not only participate in these upcoming events, but that you would also consider supporting Grateful Hearts, either through a one time gift or perhaps even consider partnering with us on a monthly basis.
Thank you for your time and your heart to help those struggling to keep food on their tables. We are forever grateful.