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NYer of the Week: Darryl Manso Helps Those Without a Home Cook Up a New Future for Themselves

Friday, November 25, 2016 | By John Schiumo

The latest New Yorker of the Week helps those without a home cook up a new future for themselves all year, especially during the holiday season. NY1’s John Schiumo filed the following report.

Darryl Manso’s passion is to serve. Always with a warm meal. Often for those in need.

Six years ago, Darryl was on the receiving end of the table. The Bronx native was living in a homeless shelter.

“I spent Thanksgiving in the shelter, and it really made me feel so good that someone put some food together and really showed love,” he says. “I’d like to give that back every year.”

And he’s doing just that through HELP USA. The nonprofit provides support services, job training and housing to those in need across the country.

Darryl was a student of HELP USA’s eight-week culinary arts program on Wards Island. Now, he’s the assistant instructor.

“Chef Darryl, he’s an amazing individual, patient and just always ready to pass on his knowledge,” says Keisha Martin, who is living in a shelter.

“If I can do this you can do it, you can pull yourself back up, and if you’re willing to put your all and all to it, I’m going to walk you through it,” Darryl says.

On this day, Darryl and his students whip up a feast for 200 New Yorkers with a helping hand from celebrity chef David Burke.

“He’s a type of guy that encourages, teaches. He’s got a way about him that is tough and tender. Sounds like a steak,” Burke says. “But he’s got his finger on the pulse of getting these guys, trying to get them a second start in life.”

“A big part of what we do, not everyone really sees is, we’re teaching people social skills and how to, when they get a job, how to keep it,” says Daniel Maguire, culinary arts director at HELP USA.

By training alongside Darryl, these New Yorkers learn discipline and communication skills and, perhaps more importantly, gain hope.

“It’s good to know that you’re not alone,” Martin says. “And in this life, everyone, whether you’re homeless or whether you’re not, everyone has something going on.”

So, for nourishing and nurturing his fellow New Yorkers, Darryl Manso is our New Yorker of the Week.

The article is available online at www.ny1.com.