Joelle Obsatz is the third-generation proprietor of Butterfield Bakery in New York City. Obsatz’s family founded the bakery after her grandfather returned from serving in WW II.

Joelle Obsatz, (left) proprietor, Butterfield Bakery, and Martina Parauda, director, VA NY Harbor Healthcare System, at recognition ceremony.

She felt a special responsibility to help her community. Particularly, she wanted to help the front-line healthcare staff tending to patients around the clock.

As she began forming a plan, many of her customers shared that they would also like to contribute. Soon “Feed Our Heroes, Butterfield NYC“ was launched.

Obsatz’ customers were grateful for the opportunity to provide relief and generously contributed to support the effort.  Butterfield Bakery staff worked countless hours preparing and delivering meals to healthcare workers across Manhattan, leaving a lasting impact.

“Donations are a warm hug on a difficult day”

“Realizing the good will of others is of monumental importance,” said Martina Parauda, director, VA NY Harbor Healthcare System. “On behalf of our workforce and the Veterans who benefited from the healthcare they delivered, we cannot thank Feed Our Heroes, Butterfield NYC, and their extended patron community enough.”

During a recognition ceremony at VA NY Harbor Healthcare System, Parauda presented a plaque to Obsatz. Parauda shared, “To quote one of our ICU nurses, ‘Donations like yours are like a warm hug on a difficult day.’”

“My grandfather was a proud Veteran. He served in almost every major battle in World War II. He would be so happy to know that we connected with your VA hospital,” said Obsatz during the ceremony.

Gracious support deeply valued

“The ability to accept the meals for our staff from Feed Our Heroes, Butterfield NYC and its patrons boosted our morale,” said Yvette Cintron, chief, Voluntary Service.

Cintron said the workforce would have been less effective without the 2,700 meals from the Feed Our Heroes, Butterfield NYC project. Picking up a meal can easily take 30 minutes in NYC. If each donated meal saves 30 minutes out of a provider’s day, that adds up to potentially 1,350 hours of additional direct patient care.

“Joelle’s idea to launch the Feed Our Heroes, Butterfield NYC initiative became incredibly significant,” said Deborah Scher, Executive Advisor, Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships. “VA New York Harbor Healthcare System was one of many healthcare organizations who were supported by the Feed Our Heroes, Butterfield, NYC neighborhood project.

“We deeply value the incredibly gracious offer of support extended to VA’s workforce. As it turns out, Feed Our Heroes, Butterfield, NYC has many heroes of their own.”


Kristin G. C. Pressly is a public affairs officer for the Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships.

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