Founding a nonprofit organization isn’t unusual; founding one at the relatively young age of 25 may be less common.
But that’s exactly what Violetta Livshiz did when — inspired by her father’s struggle with diabetes — she formed Nutritious Plate, Inc., a company that provides hot meals and nutritional information to the elderly and disabled.
“It saddens me to see how many older adults are living with chronic disease,” she says. “About 80 percent of the elderly have at least one; three-quarters are battling two or more. These statistics are shocking.”
But Livshiz firmly believes it is never too late to change, and said Nutritious Plate is proud to help seniors make healthier choices — “one plate at a time.”
Education plays a big part in convincing the elderly to make smart dietary decisions, she says, so Nutritious Plate retains a team of medical professionals and dieticians to offer seminars on how food impacts health.
Of course, a chuckle a day also helps keep the doctor at bay. That’s why recipients will find a cucumber in every food package that is distributed, a nod to a participant who approached Livshiz at the end of one such seminar, and said, with a smile: “It seems the only food safe to eat these days is a cucumber.”
She smiled, and then she smiled again, when he shared how motivated and optimistic he felt after listening to the seminar lecturer.
The Woman of Distinction treasures moments like these, as the decision to create a nonprofit had its roadblocks. Her family was always very supportive. Her husband helped find the first keynote speaker. Her mother stepped in to babysit the couple’s 1-year-old son. Yet Livshiz had her own fears to tackle; she had no idea how to go about starting a nonprofit , or how to operate a business. At times it was overwhelming, but in hindsight, she realizes those early challenges “pushed me to fight to better the lives of our community members.”
Three years later, her vision is bearing fruit. Participants who attend Nutritious Plate seminars get to meet and talk with others who share their trials and triumphs. In turn, such social contact helps them better manage their symptoms and lead healthier lifestyles.
“Brooklyn has a very distinct sense of community,” says Livshiz, who grew up in Sheepshead Bay. “Every day it surprises me how complete strangers try to help one another.”
Thanks to the support of generous sponsors, Nutritious Plate is free to participants. People can sign up for home meal deliveries, or receive a food package when they come to the seminars.
The company’s dietitian, Diana Rafailova, nominated Livshiz to be a Woman of Distinction, saying: “Violetta is a very hard-working and kind-hearted person which shows through all the work she does. I have been very honored to work alongside her for this wonderful cause.”
Neighborhood: Sheepshead Bay–Brighton Beach.
Occupation: Founder and director.
Company: Nutritious Plate.
Claim to Fame: Creating a nonprofit that feeds and educates the elderly.
Favorite Brooklyn Place: Brooklyn Heights Promenade, where old meets new. It is my ideal place to gather my thoughts and feel inspired.
Woman I admire: My mother. She is the epitome of a woman who does it all: raising three kids, and an amazing partner to my father while having a successful and growing career.
Motto: It is never too late to change your life. Also: Never underestimate the power of a smile.
©2017 Community News Group