Total loan: $10,000

Vanda & Renee

New York, NY, United States / Food

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A loan helped create a unifying multicultural hub within Harlem's diverse community.

Vanda & Renee's story

Vanda and Renee first met 20 years ago working at the world famous Birdland Jazz Club and it was there that a lifelong friendship was created. As veterans of the food service, hospitality and entertainment industries, they have partnered on a number of projects including high profile catering events for the Apollo Theater, New York City public school fundraisers, weddings, record release parties and musical events. It with absolute delight that they are now joining forces to create a hub in Harlem to do what they do best, gather people together to create, socialize, relax and refuel. Vanda Rennie Jamison, is a native of Harlem and an active supporter in that community. Through sincere efforts and hard work she positioned herself on the front line of her community and organized a collective group to revitalize an tenement building into a successful co-op, creating strength, diversity and affordable housing where she has lived for 30 years. Vanda has been an instrumental part of the framework that has transformed a distressed Harlem into a thriving and desirable community. With 20 years experience in the catering and restaurant industry, she is ready to branch out into a professional space and kitchen that will offer her best menu items to the community. Renee Raiche is passionate about health, nutrition and living a life of balance. Renee spent more than 15 years in the restaurant industry and the last 15 years in the fitness world teaching people to move and feel good doing it. It was after an illness 6 years ago though, that the door to learning about nutrition and its crucial role in supporting health opened. It is vital that we bring the best quality food to our tables and nourish ourselves and each other so our bodies function at their highest level and for the highest good. Fusing the food/restaurant industry with our dedication to supporting the Harlem community, White Pepper will be a friendly neighborhood cafe and gathering place offering healthy versions of regional comfort food. Our mission is to be the next best thing to home cooking as well as a platform to create outreach and unity. White Pepper will use its position to ally and assist local agencies in fundraising and activities that support health, education and peace transcending boundaries.