Tag Archives: charity

We were proud to support Harlem RBI’s “A League of Our Own” event again this year!

Beyond our love of sweet treats and all good things to eat, Alecia Bakery NYC was created so that we could help our community. We were honored to be able to provide Harlem RBI with our artisan caramels for “A League of Our Own” which celebrates the girls and women within their organization. The following is a quick note of thanks from Special Events Associate, Idalia Soto.

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Hello Everyone! 
    I wanted to take a moment and say how thankful we are for the support you have given Harlem RBI. You helped make A League of Our Own so special and delicious! Our guest could not stop raving about how delicious the treats and wine were. We included your contact information in our gift bags that went to all our 300 guests. 
    Below are some photos highlighting the event and some of donations (I will send more once we get them from our photographer). I could not have worked with a better group to make this all possible. We were able to raise almost $80,000 dollars which was a new record for this event. That would not have been possible without you!
Thank you for allowing our youth to Play, Learn and Grow!
All the best, 
Idalia Soto 

IDALIA SOTO

Special Events Associate
Harlem RBI | DREAM Charter School
PLAY. LEARN. GROW.

19th Annual Women Mean Business Luncheon benefiting Coalition for the Homeless’ First Step Job Training Program

Homeless.

We have all heard the word and many have discussed the plight of the homeless, but few of us have truly experienced what it is like to have no place to call home. No place for a moment of solace. No place for a shred of privacy. No place for safety. No place to shelter ourselves let alone our family. When tough times strike, most of us are fortunate enough to have family and friends upon which to lean.

In the fall of 2011, while this company was in its infancy, I lost what little financial security I had. I was shaken to my core and terrified of how I would survive. Luckily, I had an incredible support system who offered me everything I needed to keep my head above water and Lenny in kibble. They refused to let me falter and in return I promised that I would do everything possible to make this company successful. Two years and many ups and downs later, Lenny and I still have a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs, clothing on our backs and the “little company that could” is steadily growing and making its mark not only in people’s tummies, but in their hearts as well. But what of those who are not as lucky as we?

I have been blessed with an amazing circle of family and friends who make the world a better place daily by reaching out to those less fortunate and offering them a helping hand. One of those people is my dear friend, Liz Henderson. Liz is one of the kindest, gentlest, most considerate people you will ever meet. She has an infectious laugh and her fiance, Kevin, and their pug, Lennon, make me smile daily knowing that they are out there making the world a better place. You see, Liz is the Director of the Coalition for the Homeless First Step Job Training Program.

“A record 10,000 families sleep each night in New York City’s emergency shelter system. Thousands more live doubled- or tripled-up with friends or relatives, unable to afford housing in one of the country’s tightest real estate markets. The overwhelming majority of these homeless families are headed by single mothers who want to provide their children with safe and stable homes. Many lack the career skills necessary to find and maintain living wage employment. Others suffer from low-self esteem and self-worth, usually caused by years of domestic abuse. That’s why the Coalition’s First Step Job Training Program is so vital. By empowering homeless women to reach self-sufficiency through hands on job training, internships, mentoring, job placement and social service support, First Step benefits every member of the family.

“First Step’s innovative 14-week curriculum includes over 75 hours of computer instruction, along with literacy workshops, communication and interpersonal skills development, and other hands-on activities that give students a thorough and practical understanding of the job market and workplace. First Step also places students in internships with major corporations or non-profit organizations, and offers mentoring by experienced professional women. We also provide a lifetime of post-graduate services, including job placement assistance, ongoing mentoring from staff and volunteers, support groups, additional training seminars, and numerous networking opportunities with alumni and business professionals.

“Each year First Step helps hundreds of women achieve a new found sense of self-esteem and direction. The program has proven to be highly effective. Last year, of those enrolled, approximately two-thirds graduated, successfully completing both the classroom and internship portions of the program, of which 75 percent secured full-time employment.

“Coalition for the Homeless is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women, and children. We are dedicated to the principle that affordable housing, sufficient food, and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society. Since our inception in 1981, the Coalition has worked through litigation, public education, and direct services to ensure that these goals are realized.

When Liz, in her quiet way, approached me about sponsoring this year’s Women Mean Business Luncheon it wasn’t a question of whether we would participate, but how. We couldn’t afford to buy a table (but one day we will) so, we went about making caramels to fill 350 organza pouches which would be included in the event gift bags. As I worked silently in the kitchen cutting and wrapping each confection one day, I reflected on the small community of homeless and near-homeless men who inhabit a corner of my block.

I often rely on Lenny to gauge the character of a person so when he immediately took to one of the men who sold newspapers at the subway entrance, I made a point to learn his name. Roy has never asked for money or food. He and his boys sit on milk crates most days chatting and watching the goings on of the public housing buildings across the way. On days when the sun is shining, Lenny stops and sits amongst the men letting them pet him while they tell me about the dogs they used to have. One man calls him “Sandy,” but I’ve never corrected him because it’s not important. What is important is that for a few minutes each day a lady and her dog stop by to chat. We don’t walk by and turn a blind eye. We don’t treat the men like pariahs. We smile and ask how they are doing. Simply, we treat them like humans — with dignity and respect — just as we wish to be treated.

It was my honor to be seated with Liz, Corporate Partnership Award recipients of Deutsch and Class 112 graduate Marlene Romero at this year’s luncheon. It was an amazing two hours in which I was inspired by the strength, perseverance  and words of hope, spoken by President & CEO of Coalition for the Homeless Mary Brosnahan, Class 111 graduate Shakira Kennedy, Class 106 graduate Jessie Garcia and Ms. Romero. Many tears were shed and 350+ attendees walked out of the Grand Ballroom at The Pierre on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, with a renewed energy for change.

As Deutsch stated in the event program, “The difference between wanting change and creating change starts with standing up. Here’s to empty seats.”

Lenny is NYC’s Top Dog of 2013!

“Thank you Lenny for all you do for our dog community. Wonderful pug group and great job on your fundraising!” – Ada Nieves, Co-chair of the New York Pet Fashion Show

We had No, let’s be honest. I had been looking forward to a rare fancy night out at the New York Pet Fashion Show since November 2012 when Lenny was asked to participate in the Vendor Runway portion of the event. When I learned that this year’s event beneficiary was one of our favorite NYC shelters, Animal Haven, I knew we had to do it! However, at the time there was a small hiccup. We were hoping to have our new shop open around that time and I wasn’t sure if we would be able to make it. And then fate took hold and our shop opening hit a few road bumps so on New Year’s Eve I messaged Ada to ask if Lenny’s spot was still available. To my delight, it was!

Lenny the Pug by Andy Bautista at Sacred Tattoo NYC

I chose a gorgeous vintage Betsey Johnson dress to wear. No, I didn’t buy it from a trendy vintage shop in the Village. I have just hung onto it long enough that it, along with much of my wardrobe, is now considered vintage. Hmmm…maybe I’m vintage now, too. But, I digress… Back to the dress! It was perfect! Its tiny spaghetti straps and low back would show off the gorgeous tattoo work by Jon Mesa across my back, shoulder and arm, while the asymmetrical hemline would allow me to proudly show off my latest, and okay let’s just agree its my greatest, tattoo of a smiling Lenny by Andy Bautista on my thigh. Have I mentioned how much I hate promoting myself, but LOVE promoting others?

Once I had chosen something appropriate to wear that wouldn’t embarrass Lenny while he mingled with his peers, it was his turn. He, of course, eschewed the evening’s theme (The Roaring 20’s)  as well as all social guidelines and decided he would go au natural. That’s right. The pug was going to attend the party NAKED! Oh the horror! LOL! While many folks know the pug has a fabulous winter wardrobe envied even by HUMANS, it has always been important to me to allow him to be a pug first and foremost. The event was being held on the top floor ballroom of the Pennsylvania Hotel — no need for protection from inclement weather indoors. So, run nekkid little pug! Run nekkid!

With our attire chosen, we had five weeks to relax while event organizers scrambled to pull everything together. If you’ve ever organized a public event in NYC, you know how many CASES of wine those organizers probably went through calming their nerves. I have…and can make an educated guess.

Anyway, on January 28 I received a message from Ada Nieves, Co-chair of the New York Pet Fashion Show:

“We would like to present a formal invitation to the New York Pet Fashion Show on Feb 8 at the Pennsylvania Hotel. Lenny has been nominated for an award. Please confirm attendance. Thank you!”

WHAT?!?! I wondered to myself, “What in the world has the little pug been doing when I’m not around? Obviously its been positive because he’s won an award!” I was so proud of my little pug.

With the news of a mysterious award, my excitement grew! And then after weeks of anticipation…

Really? What’s up with naming a winter storm?

Winter storm Nemo. Stupid blizzard.

I considered every possible option of transporting the little pug to the event. Car service. Too expensive and would take a miracle to get a car in the storm. Subway. MTA warned of suspended service and our home stop is above ground — surely it would be shut down. Walking. One hundred sixty-seven blocks south in dropping temperatures and blizzard conditions carrying a 17 lb pug. Absolutely not. There just didn’t seem to be a truly safe method of transportation for us. And so after months of looking forward to a night out, I made the heartbreaking decision that we would not attend. I would not wear my dress. Lenny would not frolic naked in a fancy ballroom. And most crushing, the little pug would not be able to accept his award — which I could only assume was for “Frito-iest Feet”.

That decision, however difficult, ranked low on my chart of difficult decisions throughout Lenny’s life thus far. He wasn’t having a limb amputated. He wasn’t being put under anesthesia. It wouldn’t bring on a seizure. He didn’t know or care that he was going to miss a party. Nor did he know or care that he was supposed to accept an award that evening. He knew that home was safe and warm and cared that his dinner would be in his bowl.

So we stayed home listening to the wind, watching the snow fall like magic and Lenny ate his dinner from his bowl. The little pug was happy…and so was I.

Morning after Nemo walk in show up to his chin.

This morning Lenny and I woke to a snow covered wonderland. Gorgeous, but definitely not suited for Lenny as the little pug slid down the steps of our front stoop and stood frozen waiting for me to pick him up and carry him to the sidewalk where a narrow path had been created by human footprints. I rarely carry my phone with me when walking Lenny, but this morning I took it along to take photos of our snowyneighborhood and I’m glad I did. A simple message arrived from Ada while we walked:

“Congrats NYC Top Dog of 2013!!!!!!

WHAT?!?!? It must be a mistake. The message must have been truncated and Ada meant to send me the list of last evening’s award winners. I messaged Ada back to inquire and then I started to cry. As the tears froze on my cheeks, I was overwhelmed by the possibility that Lenny had actually been named the NYC Top Dog of 2013. I have said it thousands of times and will say it thousands more during Lenny’s lifetime. The little pug is my northern star ever directing me to all that’s good and decent in the world. He reminds me daily of what is truly important.

When we returned home, and Lenny had his post-walk cookie, I messaged my dear friend, Gail, who had volunteered with Animal Haven at last night’s evening and graciously accepted Lenny’s award in our absence, to confirm. Her answer? Lenny had indeed received the award for NYC’s Top Dog 2013 (almost a unanimous vote, according to Ada a few minutes later)! Gail had his award and a goody bag in hand. I was beside myself. Stunned. Honored. Humbled. And crying again.

Thank you Ada, Gregg Oehler (President/CEO, New York Pet Fashion Show), Richard Cordero (Vice President, New York Pet Fashion Show), Dana Humphrey (PR & Marketing Consultant, New York Pet Fashion Show), Gail, Animal Haven staff & volunteers, everyone on the committee who voted for Lenny, and last but absolutely not least, the amazing NYC animal community!

I’ve never sought out accolades or expected recognition for anything Lenny and I have done. It is truly an honor and a privilege to be a part of the incredible animal community here in NYC. I will proudly display Lenny’s award at our new shop when it opens this Spring as a daily reminder to myself, our staff and everyone who stops in, that we all have the power to do good every day. We simply must choose to do it.

Our little Lenny was nominated for an award!

I’m a horrible PR person. No, I am horrible at promoting myself. I take great pleasure in promoting others, but it makes me feel like a braggard to speak about myself and I believe actions speak decibels louder than words anyway. So, when I was recently notified that Lenny had been nominated for an award to be presented at the New York Pet Fashion Show this Friday, February 8, 2013, I was beside myself. What had the little pug been up to when I wasn’t around? Obviously, someone out there had deemed it award-worthy.

Lenny has been my north star pointing me in the direction of all that’s good and decent in the world for nearly eight years. He reminds me daily of what is truly important and keeps me honest to the nth degree. And while he won’t understand what he’s done to warrant an award, I will be the proudest mom around knowing that he has touched and inspired others as he has me.

Event organizers wouldn’t divulge what award Lenny will be receiving, so if you happen to be in NYC this weekend and think spending the evening with a room full of animal enthusiasts is an AWESOME way to spend a Friday night, we’d love you to join us! Surprises are good, right?

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PRLog (Press Release)Jan. 24, 2013 – We invite you to the Event of the Season and A Celebration Of Love for Animal Rescue, which features a Roaring 20’s theme and a superb evening. Bring your dog and don your Roaring 20’s outfit and enjoy three amazing runway fashion shows by renowned fashion designer & our Creative Director Ada Nieves, plus many other Top National Pet designers from across the country.

Come see the world’s most famous dog “Lassie” on the runway in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Lassie in TV,books & film.

–  (2) Animal Haven Shelter dogs walk the runway looking for “Forever Homes” after they’ve been made over by celebrity groomer Jorge Bendersky
– Also walking the runway are Shanna Olson – Ms California  2013
– Richard Pryor Jr.
– Justin Silver from the CBS “Dogs In The City”
– Nency Escamilla Ms. New York 2011 – Harrison Forbes celebrity pet expert and many more to come
This is an Animal Rescue Benefit for Animal Haven Shelter of NYC, and a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit this fine organization. www.AnimalHavenShelter.org

Some say that New York City is the Capital of the world. Whether it’s Media, Fashion, or Finance, one thing is certain — New York City is the Dog Capital of the world.

Cover the event, spread the word and “Help Save Animals Lives” Come see some adoptable Animal Haven Shelter dogs on the runway.

This event is being filmed for TV, and features three special runway shows:
* Roaring 20’s Best in Show Costume Contest”,
* 50 Shades Of Love Romantic Runway Show”, and our Special
* Gold Paw Sponsor Runway Show”.
Cocktails, Food, Music, and vendors selling some of the best and coolest pet products in the market today, and many more surprises.

Media:To cover the event please provide your complete contact information and we will place you on our VIP Media guest list
When: February 8th, 6PM-11PM www.nypetfashionshow.com
Where:The Hotel Pennsylvania-

Penn Top Ballroom (18th Floor)
Address: 401 Seventh Ave, 33rd St, New York, NY. 10001
Tickets:$35 In advance ($45 at the door)Come and Enjoy this Fabulous Event Featuring:* Roaring 20’s Best in Show Costume Contest- a few spots remain
* 50 Shades Of Love Romantic Runway Show
* Gold Paw Sponsor Runway Show
* Bring cash, Credit Cards, Checks to support Animal Haven Shelter and Vendors
* Human & Canine Celebrities! A real Prince on the Runway
* The legendary Lassie walking the runway
* Complimentary Food & Cash bar, Complimentary VIP Gift Bags 

 

 

I’m a “New York poochie mama” and proud of it!

I’m a relatively introverted gal. Aside from a brief stint as a representative for Jet Blue’s pet friendly airways and a few random animal charity modeling gigs, I prefer working behind the scenes. Thus, for years folks have recognized Lenny on the street, but never identified me as being his “mom.” I was just a nameless face walking the famous little black tripod pug. But, this Mother’s Day I was proud to show my face.

“New York Post,” Sunday, May 13, 2012

Our sincerest thanks to our friend and talented photographer, Shaina Fishman, for capturing the moment perfectly! Be sure to check Shaina out of Facebook and on the web!