Harvest Heroes

Please join The Campaign Against Hunger for Harvest Heroes as we honor outstanding community heroes committed to fighting hunger and poverty in New York City.


Thursday, October 12, 2023
Food & Drinks: 6:00 pm
Reception: 7:00 pm


The Rockaway Hotel
108-10 Rockaway Beach Drive
Rockaway, NY 11694


NYS Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato

Manny Silva

The Graybeards

Angie Kingston

Renee Hastick-Motes

L&M Development Partners, LLC

Betty Vincench Stiles


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NYS Assemblywoman – 23rd District


Stacey Pheffer Amato is proud to represent the New York State Assembly’s 23rd District, encompassing the Queens neighborhoods of Ozone Park, Lindenwood, Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, Roxbury, Neponsit, Belle Harbor, Rockaway Park, Rockaway Beach, Arverne, Edgemere, Bayswater and Far Rockaway since 2017.


Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato has never shied away from stepping up to advocate for causes she feels passionate about. In Albany, she is an outspoken champion for our hardworking families, first responders, Veterans and seniors. She is always fighting to bring additional resources to South Queens and the Rockaway Peninsula. Being recognized for her efforts in the legislature and fighting for public employees, Stacey was appointed Chair of the Governmental Employee Committee, being only the second woman to ever hold this role in New York State history. As Chair she will work to facilitate the best possible legislative policies for public employees that range in pensions, retirement benefits, and health insurance.


She is also a leading member of the Education; Veterans’ Affairs; Corporations, Authorities & Commissions; and Racing & Wagering Committees. In addition, she is a member of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, the Women’s Issues Task Force, and the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force.


The Assemblywoman is responsible for ground-breaking legislation and for providing funding that has positively impacted her district. She has passed over twenty pieces of legislation, often with bipartisan support. She has focused on helping to improve women’s health, expanding the rights of the disabled and elderly, bringing new resources to veterans and 9/11 first responders, improving the local environment and Jamaica Bay, and raising the profile of drowning and the importance of swim safety. She has also been credited for bringing millions of dollars for STEM education funding, as well as working with the NYPD on public safety.


Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato and her team pride themselves in their commitment to constituent services working under the notion that people are the most important and the government should work for you. Stacey and her office have been recognized and heavily praised for their commitment to helping resolve a variety of issues by cutting the red tape and getting answers for the residents of the 23rd Assembly District.


Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato’s mother, Queens County Clerk Audrey I. Pheffer, previously held this Assembly seat for over twenty-five years, and upon the Assemblywoma’s election, they became the first mother-daughter team in NYS history to be elected to the State Legislature. Stacey and her husband, Frank, proudly live in Rockaway Beach with their two children, Sam and Isabella along with their cat Sugar.

Manny Silva’s journey embodies the richness of diversity, blending Haitian and Dominican heritage. As a born-and-raised Queens resident, he’s a Community Advocate working tirelessly to dismantle systemic barriers to foster social and food justice. His goal is an inclusive future with widespread economic opportunities and helping to end hunger in affected areas.


Over the past decade, Manny has held impactful roles within Queens. From building worker-owned co-op businesses to serving as Chief of Staff for a NYC Council member and managing a re-election campaign for Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, he’s been an agent of meaningful change. His bid for NY City Council centered on empowering Southeast Queens residents, resonating with constituents hungry for equity. Despite finishing third, Manny remains thankful for amplifying marginalized voices and inspiring collective action.


In 2021, Manny embarked on a transformative journey, assuming the role of Executive Director for the Far Rockaway Arverne Nonprofit Coalition, fostering dialogue among diverse communities. He now simultaneously manages his role with FRANC, and he also took on a new position with Empire Clean Cities, addressing environmental justice concerns and acknowledging the unequal impact of pollution. With gratitude and unwavering commitment, Manny Silva continues to work towards enhancing the Rockaways and beyond.

Dotted throughout the expanse of Rockaway, you might come across these unassuming blue shopping bags, accompanied by simple notes that kindly whisper, “Don’t Forget To Put Your Blue Bag Out.” These unobtrusive markers stand as a tribute to the quiet dedication of The Rockaway Graybeards. In a journey spanning nearly two decades, this group, with a heart of gold, has gathered millions of pounds of non-perishable food, all destined for the cupboards of Rockaway food pantries.


It’s almost humbling to think that The Graybeards found their footing in the wake of 9/11, spurred by the modest yet impactful mission: “To help our neighbors in their time of need” Since then, they’ve been rolling up their sleeves with a steady and unwavering commitment. Their repertoire spans from lending aid during crises to being a reassuring presence in the community, playing a part in its growth, and even fostering educational initiatives. And that name, “Graybeards,” isn’t just a name; it’s a nod to the wisdom that accompanies the passage of time.


The remarkable thing is how The Graybeards marshal their efforts: a coalition of volunteers and endeavors that raise funds in creative ways. Every step they take resonates with the genuine promise to channel all they gather into the service of others. In a peninsula that’s seen its share of difficulties, The Rockaway Graybeards stand as a bridge, connecting the community, volunteers, and resources to weave threads of positive and enduring change.

Angie Kingston, serves as the Director of Events and Community Outreach at the Black Chef Movement. Her culinary mastery has become a driving force in the battle against food insecurity. Having graduated from Johnson & Wales University, Angie’s personal odyssey underscores her unwavering commitment to both her culinary expertise and her social conscience.


Rooted in a profound determination to tackle the pressing issue of food insecurity, Angie’s endeavors resound powerfully. Her active participation within the Black Chef Movement serves as a testament to her resolute ambition to instigate positive transformation through the medium of culinary arts. By orchestrating high-profile events and fostering community engagement, she is at the forefront of initiatives that offer nourishment and hope to those grappling with need.


Angie’s narrative echoes as a paragon of culinary compassion, where her proficiencies act as a bridge between exceptional gastronomy and a profoundly noble cause. Having started her journey as a participant in the Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) during her teenage years, she later ascended to the role of program leader, a testament to her enduring dedication to employing her talents for the betterment of society. Angie’s impactful journey has garnered nationwide recognition, with features on ABC News, as well as local acclaim, spotlighted through The Wave Newspaper.

L&M Development Partners is a prominent real estate development company renowned for its commitment to creating positive and lasting community impact. With a rich history spanning several decades, L&M has consistently demonstrated a dedication to building not only structures but also stronger neighborhoods.


Founded on the principles of innovation, social responsibility, and sustainability, L&M has undertaken numerous projects that prioritize community well-being. Through strategic partnerships with local organizations, governments, and stakeholders, the company has revitalized under-invested areas, contributing to improved quality of life for residents.


L&M’s community impact goes beyond construction; they have pioneered inclusive development models that incorporate affordable housing, green spaces, essential amenities, and initiatives to combat food insecurity. Their projects aim to bridge economic gaps, providing opportunities for individuals and families from diverse backgrounds to thrive.


Through its holistic approach to urban development, L&M has elevated neighborhoods, created jobs, and enhanced the overall vitality of communities. Their work is a testament to their belief in the transformative power of responsible real estate development in fostering brighter futures for everyone.

SVP & Chief, External Affairs Officer | President, St. John’s ICARE Hospital Foundation


Renee Hastick-Motes is the Vice President of External Affairs at Episcopal Health Services Inc., and President of the St. John’s ICARE Hospital Foundation, LLC.  As a member of the executive team, she is responsible for developing and implementing the health systems government and external relations strategy, oversees marketing, public relations/communications, philanthropic activities, grant acquisition efforts and clinical pastoral education.


Ms. Hastick-Motes is passionate about providing the Rockaway community with quality health care and building community awareness of availability of health services. She was instrumental in the creation of the St. John’s Episcopal Hospital mobile health initiative (managed by the population health team) which brings medical services to the community through the hospital’s traveling mobile health van.


Ms. Hastick-Motes is an Adjunct Professor at Hofstra University, teaching in the Lawrence Herbert School of Communications in the department of Journalism, Media Studies and Public Relations. She was also an instructor at The City University of New York, Medgar Evers College, School of Business, in the Public Administration Department.

Throughout her career, Ms. Hastick-Motes has held several leadership positions including Associate Vice President of Community and Government Affairs for one of New York City’s largest human service agencies. In this capacity, she led an advisory committee that was pivotal in changing the NYC Health Penal Law, worked with local community groups to advocate and resolve issues around the stigma of mental health, and created programming to heighten the agency’s profile.


Ms. Hastick-Motes also served as the Special Assistant/Policy Analyst at the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President. Ms. Hastick-Motes is the recipient of Schneps Media’s Lifetime Achievement and Caribbean Impact Awards.  The Senatorial Rising Star Award, Community Service certificates from the NYC Public Advocate, NYS Assembly and the recipient of the New York State Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc. Honorable Pauline Rhodd Cummings Award for her service to the Queens, NY Rockaway Community and a host of other awards and recognition of community service.


Ms. Hastick-Motes earned a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Notre Dame College of Ohio and a Master (with distinction) in Public Administration from Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. She is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators, the Healthcare Association of New York State Community Health Task force, American College of Healthcare Executives and on track to receive a Fellowship.  She is a CHIEF Member (the only private membership network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders) and a Board Director for the Levittown Community Council.  Most importantly, she is a Wife and Mother of three beautiful children.


Harvest Heroes Community Champion

Betty Vincench Stiles truly loves her Rockaway community. She moved to Rockaway Beach at age five with her young mother and immigrant father. Her mother was born in the U.S. but raised in Puerto Rico and then moved to the Bronx at 15. Her father was a Cuban immigrant in the Navy who arrived in NYC by ship at the age of 16 and never went back. As they raised their young family in Rockaway, Betty and her sister Alice made memories, friendships, and relationships that would last a lifetime. Betty married her first husband, a Rockaway native, at 16, and they raised their family together on Beach 116th Street for 13 years, giving her a true sense of community.

Betty later divorced, remarried, and moved to Inwood with her husband, but it is always clear that Betty holds the Rockaway community dear to her heart. Her love and commitment are evident in how Betty shows up for her community. When she is not at Zumba class, she is at a community event taking photos, helping with sign-in, and raising awareness about locally available resources. Her energy and positivity are unmatched. She treats everyone with love, care, and respect and is truly a shining example of a community champion!


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