On Tuesday we were honored to welcome Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, where he joined Founder and President Dr. Lisa Liberatore, M.D. on a tour and blessing of our new state-of-the-art commercial kitchen and learning center in Tribeca, New York.
The visit was arranged by Dr. Liberatore in partnership with Father Alex and his wife, Presbytera Xanthi, of the Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church of the Hamptons where a Luv Michael replica initiative has been thriving since 2015 when we first set out to redefine what it means to be employed with autism. “The Greek Orthodox Church is sort of taking the lead in showing other faith-based supported communities how they can embrace people with special needs,” said Dr. Liberatore.
Dr. Liberatore has always been steadfast in her commitment to expanding on the success of Luv Michael, pushing the need for more replica initiatives, where others with learning disabilities can find meaningful employment and begin to provide for themselves, in a space specially designed to bring out their strengths by meeting their unique needs.
“What we’re doing now, is working very hard [to ensure] that we have a home there [at Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church] just for people who want to share the love, share the joy, just the way [they’re] all doing and working towards now,” said Father Alex in reference to the East End Initiative.
The tour was led by Granologists, who led the Archbishop through a typical day at the facility. In the kitchen, they explained the various pieces of equipment and their uses, answering the Archbishop’s questions, rattling off ingredients, and proudly displaying to him our new packaging, bearing our signature slogan, “Hand Made With Luv,” before launching into questions of their own.
“The youth have many questions, normally, because the youth love the world, and if I, in my long time of experience can answer some of these things, I will,” said Archbishop Elpidophoros. “My favorite thing about the job, you know, is meeting with people and hearing about their dreams, expectations, views on God, on people, whatever it may be.”
Later, and joined by Father Alex and his wife, we gathered once more in the kitchen for a blessing of the new space. Following a short service, and as a special thank-you for his visit, Dr. Liberatore and the Granologists presented the Archbishop with a Luv Michael t-shirt we had all signed for him in advance.
Today was a beautiful day, filled with love and awe by everyone who was in our kitchen. We look forward to many other special visits that serve to bring people together in their common love of each other and for humanity.
Luv Michael is a Non-Profit 501c3 organization that produces high quality organic, gluten-free, and nut-free granola without all the harmful chemicals and toxic allergens. The company was founded in 2015 by Lisa Liberatore, MD and her son Michael with the goal of providing meaningful employment and on the job training to those diagnosed with Autism.