Some of the amazing Chrysalis volunteers and staff.
One of the aims of the Tariq Farid Foundation is to improve the lives of women and children. As a result, we support quite a few organizations that achieve this.
One of these organizations, the Meriden-Wallingford Chrysalis, provides safety and support for women and children at a time when they need it most — when they are trying to escape a violent situation.
In addition to providing a short-term emergency shelter and longer-term transitional housing, Chrysalis provides a continuum of care that includes individual in-person and/or phone support. They also provide advocacy through the medical, legal, police or social services systems as well as providing support groups and safety planning.
All this remarkable work and the vital services are provided to women and children absolutely free.
As an organization, Chrysalis lives and operates under this truth: “No matter what the situation, nobody deserves to be battered or abused. Everybody deserves to live a life free from violence, fear and abuse. These are universal truths, no matter what your situation.”
Equally impressive, the organization is now partnering with other organizations to prevent violence before it starts by working with men and with youth. To learn more about this amazing organization, you can check out their Facebook page here or their website here.
One of the unfortunate side effects of our digital age is that unfounded and hateful allegations can be easily spread to the public, even years after they have been dismissed as untrue.
I have experienced this firsthand due to the recent reappearance of old rumors by extremist bloggers regarding charitable contributions made through our non-profit organizations to worthwhile causes. Even the Anti-Defamation League has dismissed the accusations as baseless, but they continue to live online nevertheless.
As I have written many times before, when I started Edible Arrangements from a small storefront in East Haven, Connecticut, I had no idea it would achieve the success we have enjoyed over the last 15 years. From the start I have focused on building the business the right way, based on the values I was taught as a child.
Thanks to the passion and trust of our franchisees, who are from all walks of life, all cultures and faiths, Edible Arrangements has grown beyond my wildest dreams. I am living proof that the American Dream is still alive and well.
As I have also written in the past, with success comes responsibility. My faith is clear that I have a responsibility to share a portion of my success for the benefit of society, and one of my true joys has been providing support to organizations and causes who are helping those less fortunate.
Sadly, two of these contributions have been the focus of the hate-mongers who have used them to attack, me, my family and, as a result, everyone at Edible Arrangements.
Anyone who knows me and my family, knows there is no truth to them.
At the time, the accusations were so outrageous that I felt it best not to acknowledge them publicly. When customers, franchisees, friends or business associates asked me about them, I reassured them they were not true. By addressing them publicly, however, I felt I would only give them the credibility they didn’t deserve and cause undue concern.
Due to the recent turmoil in the Middle East, however, those looking for villains have again given life to these ridiculous rumors. And, I feel I must address them now.
In 2011, the Farid Foundation made a contribution to ICNA Relief USA, a New York City-based subset of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), for the purpose of building housing for battered women. ICNA Relief, which has also partnered with such important organizations as FEMA, the Red Cross and Catholic Charities, provides a wide range of services designed to help those in need. I am proud that we were able to join many other businesses and organizations in providing a refuge for these women.
In 2012, we again joined many other well-known businesses and organizations in supporting a street festival organized by Inner City Muslim Action Network. Among other purposes, the event was designed to encourage healthy eating habits among youth. During a franchisee meeting in Chicago I had the opportunity to visit their clinic and halfway houses for people making the transition from prison back into society. I was moved by the work they are doing in this area. The organization’s clinic and food distribution network are nationally recognized. Our support is small, compared to that provided by the U.S. Department of State and other major corporations, but I am very supportive of the programs this organization provides in its community and proud to be among its supporters.
Even though both of these organizations and projects are supported by many well-known businesses and organizations, and both have been honored by the White House, for some reason our contributions have been singled out, and their purpose twisted by those who would use them to spread their hate.
As with most charitable organizations, I understand that questions will sometimes be raised about where the money is going and how it is used. That is why we have always been very transparent about which organizations we support.
We are very careful in our selection process to make sure that our support goes to legally recognized, non-profit organizations, and, as much as possible, that our contributions are used for the causes for which they have been requested.
Below is a list of causes that we have supported over the years. I would be the first one to take an organization to task if I ever learned that our contributions had been used to spread hate and bigotry.
Our company is based on celebrating what is good in life, and I will continue to willingly share my success by supporting those who are helping others lead a better life.
After all, helping others is the American way.
WHO WE SUPPORT
Following is a comprehensive overview of support provided through the Tariq Farid Foundation, the Farid Foundation and Edible Arrangements.
ICNA Relief USA – New York City organization supporting shelters for abused women.
Inner-City Muslim Action Network (Chicago, IL.) – donation for a health fair which includes encouraging healthy eating habits among youth and to provide low-income youth backpacks for the upcoming school year.
Islamic Center of Wallingford (Wallingford, CT) – Muslim house of worship.
With the arrival of November, my thoughts naturally turn to the holidays . . . and food. One of my true joys is celebrating with family and friends at a dinner table overflowing with good food and great conversation.
For many, however, food is not about celebration. It is about survival. That’s why my thoughts at this time of the year also turn to organizations such as the Community Soup Kitchen of New Haven. This small group of dedicated individuals is at the forefront of making sure that everyone — regardless of personal or financial situation — has access to regular nutritious meals.
With a paid staff of only three, a volunteer coordinator, an all-volunteer Board and an enthusiastic army of volunteers, the Community Soup Kitchen provides breakfast and lunches four days a week as well as other services. Their guests, as they refer to those they serve, include the jobless, homeless, elderly, those living with AIDS, those living on welfare, the mentally ill, chronic substance abusers, single parents, the working poor, veterans, and the lonely and hungry people of our community.
Their mission is simple, yet inspiring:
To provide free, nutritious meals on a regular basis in the downtown New Haven community for the benefit of the poor and underprivileged.
To enhance the dignity and sense of worth of all those who come to the kitchen by welcoming them wholeheartedly and warmly as guests of CSK.
To provide our guests with access to various services during their visits, such as flu shots, warm winter clothing and educational and job referrals.
As their mission states, in addition to providing free nutritious meals, the Community Soup Kitchen also often teams with other agencies such as Hill Health Center, and the ACCESS mental health outreach team, as well as employment and pre-employment resources.
Twice each week they work with Saint Luke’s Services to provide lunch for needy women and children and they also provide bagged lunches for the homeless outreach program at Fellowship Place.
Director Dave O’Sullivan and his team make all of this happen with an annual budget of just a few hundred thousand dollars and without any state or federal funds. Fortunately they receive some food from government programs, grants from the City of New Haven as well as contributions from individuals and organizations. I am honored to say that those supporting organizations include the Tariq Farid Foundation, and it is my hope that others will join us in making sure that no one in their community goes hungry, not just during the upcoming season of celebration, but every day of the year.
Darlene Deberry always wanted to own her own business. She often dreamed of it, but was never sure how to make her dream a reality.
Working as a portfolio manager for a micro loan enterprise program in North Carolina, Darlene remembers that as she would visit new businesses she found herself wanting to start her own.
“But I didn’t know how to start, where to begin or what type of business I would like to own,” she told me. “I just knew I had that entrepreneurial spirit and I wanted to grow something that was my own and create my own destiny. ”
On a trip to Brooklyn in 2005, Darlene walked by an Edible Arrangements store. She stopped, struck by what she saw.
“It was so beautiful and eye-catching—the store and the product,” she said. “It just made me feel good.”
As the months wore on, Darlene said she couldn’t stop thinking about the Edible Arrangements store.
Months later she came across an ad for Edible Arrangements franchise opportunities in Working Mother magazine. Still struck by the Edible Arrangements store she saw in Brooklyn, she decided to call and learn a little more.
“The staff at Edible Arrangements was most helpful in helping me to decide that this was the right fit and time for me to start a business,” Darlene told me.
She decided to take a leap of faith and join the Edible Brand.
“It was exciting and challenging at the same time,” Darlene said. “It was challenging getting all the pieces coordinated, like finding a good location and learning about the local marketplace.”
The Edible Arrangements corporate helped her find a great location and move through the process of opening a business.
Finally, in 2006, Darlene’s dream of becoming a small business owner came true when she opened her first store.
“I love Edible Arrangements!” she told me. ”No matter what the occasion, people are always excited to receive an arrangement or dipped fruit.”
Darlene will tell you that one secret to her store’s success is that she empowers and invests in her employees. Darlene and her husband and business partner David provide their employees with health care and 401k plans. Even part time employees are eligible for paid leave and sick time.
The result, she says, is that she is able to keep good employees, and that “makes my store stronger because it adds so much value to the business.”
Darlene and David are both originally from NYC and very active in their community, serving as volunteers and teaching financial literacy. They also teach bible study and Darlene is well-known as a hostess extraordinaire and famous for her family get-togethers.
Through their Edible Arrangements store, they frequently support local food drives, provide help for cancer and leukemia patients as well as recreational activities for children.
In November, Darlene and David will open their second Edible Arrangements store, proving that dreams do, indeed, come true. Often, more than once!