Our team members on giving back at the height of the unknown

Opal Vadhan: “I remain hopeful that there are far better days ahead.”

“Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, for as long as you can.”


“Practice the discipline of gratitude.”


I read those two mantras in Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Living History while working on her 2016 campaign, and they have always stuck with me. Working for Secretary Clinton, I see her live by those words and she has also instilled them in me.

On March 22, just days after New York City effectively shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw on social media that José Andrés’ organization, World Central Kitchen, started offering free meals to New Yorkers. I knew that I couldn’t just sit at home while so many people in my city struggled, so I quickly reached out to ask if they needed volunteers. Little did I know what I was getting into — I thought I’d be serving meals a few times a week. Instead, with the blessing of my boss and colleagues, it would become my life for the next eight months.

It was incredibly heartbreaking and humbling to see the lines for food stretch for blocks in Queens, where I’m from and was volunteering. It didn’t matter if it was raining, freezing cold, or 90 degrees, we’d see so many seniors, mothers with strollers, children, and hardworking people, waiting for the only food they may have access to that week. While public health officials were encouraging most New Yorkers to stay home, the reality for far too many families was they didn’t have a choice but to show up and stand in line.

 Opal Vadhan volunteering this spring with World Central Kitchen to help families in need.


I met people like Donald, who came to this country 20 years ago. When COVID-19 hit, he lost his job in construction, and would consistently be one of the first people in line. He said he didn’t know how he’d survive without this food. I met 8-year-old Valinessa with her younger brother Alfred. They were so excited to read books from the Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail program while waiting in the long line with their mom. I also met Valentín, who was laid off in March from the catering company where he’d worked for years. The food he picked up helped him, his wife, and his two kids survive.

As Secretary Clinton has believed her entire life, “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, for as long as you can,” and “Practice the discipline of gratitude.” This year has given both of those beliefs new meaning for me. Reflecting on this year, I am filled with gratitude. I am grateful to my boss, Secretary Clinton, and to my colleagues for their inspiration and support. I am grateful to my teammates and the staff at World Central Kitchen who worked their hearts out — and continue to do so wherever disaster strikes — to serve others.

As I reflect on my own experience, I know that this country — and New York especially — has given my family so much. Most importantly, the chance to live the American dream. My parents migrated from India. My mom tells me that the moment she got off the plane at JFK Airport, pregnant with me, she knew she had to stay here to give me a better life. We must keep that dream alive for all Americans, and I remain hopeful that there are far better days ahead.

Opal Vadhan is the executive assistant to Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and a volunteer for World Central Kitchen (WCK). Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, WCK uses the power of food to heal communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond. WCK has created a new model for disaster response through its work helping devastated communities recover and establish resilient food systems.

Ian Price: “There’s an inexplicable gravity that pulls us toward the job at hand and compels us to keep going.”

When days spent quarantining alone turned into weeks, I started to feel anxious in my downtime, knowing how much people were suffering in my city. I saw calls to action for volunteers to deliver food to vulnerable populations across New York with an organization called God’s Love We Deliver, and I knew I had to act. Thankfully, my team understood, and we worked it out so that I could spend a few days a week delivering meals.

On the days I spent volunteering, I would bike more than 100 blocks to get to the distribution center in downtown Manhattan at sunrise. Then, I would hop in a van with a driver and deliver packages to as many as 80 people desperately in need. I was introduced to parts of the city that I took for granted and got a glimpse of life that so many pretend does not exist in America today. It was not particularly easy, but there was something quite surreal and especially motivating about the fact that this was unfolding literally in my own backyard. I knew I could do something — anything — to help serve my community.

That was my experience from April through June of 2020 — at the height of the quarantine. I stepped back once God’s Love We Deliver was able to hire a few more full-time staff and life across New York City began to open back up. As the first wave waned, life finally began peeking through the cracks again.

Gods Love We Deliver cooks and home-delivers nutritious, medically tailored meals for people too sick to shop or cook for themselves.

The work at the Foundation continued to adapt amid the global turmoil — partnering with organizations like World Central Kitchen to serve more than 680,000 meals to those in need across Central Arkansas, supporting parents and educators across the country in the realities of remote learning, and finding a way (even through the distance) to stay even more connected with student and community leaders worldwide.

I know that a need to serve is at the heart of all of us at the Foundation. It is an inexplicable gravity that pulls us toward the job at hand and compels us to keep working to improve lives in our communities in any way we can. I’m so incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to help. As we prepare for subsequent waves of the pandemic this winter, I know there’s so much more that can be done, but now more than ever, I have hope that we can get through this together.

Ian Price is a senior manager in the legal department for the Clinton Foundation and a volunteer for God’s Love We Deliver (GLWD). GLWD cooks and home-delivers nutritious, medically tailored meals for people too sick to shop or cook for themselves. With a community of more than 17,000 volunteers, GLWD delivers 2.5 million meals annually.