Great Give Ode: In Praise Of The Culturally Appropriate Hot Meal 

Chris George likes an obscure federal regulation so much that he … wrote a song about it.

Then he came on radio to sing it, in the hopes of raising money to put the regulation into effect as often as possible.

George is the celebrated executive director of IRIS, Integrated Refugees and Immigration Services, New Haven’s nationally renowned agency for resettling newcomers to our country. IRIS has enlisted hundreds of New Haveners int he cause and offered a beacon of hope to people discouraged by the anti-refugee and anti-immigrant policies coming out of Washington.

IRIS is one of 488 New Haven nonprofits raising money in this year’s Great Give , organized by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. The 36-hour event runs through 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Click here to make donations.

WNHH FM is hosting a radiothon in conjunction with the Great Give. We’re inviting members of participating nonprofits to make a pitch for donations —  but only after reciting a poem or singing a song.

Chris George brought keyboardist Lars Gjerde with him into the WNHH studio for accompaniment as he sang the song he wrote in honor of the federal rule, which requires refugee resettlement agencies to provide newcomers with “culturally appropriate hot meals” within two hours of their arrival.

People were forgiven for thinking Cole Porter was in the house.

Watch him sing it in this Facebook Live video.

The lyrics follow:

In Praise of the Culturally Appropriate Hot Meal 

Find an apartment. Make sure it’s furnished.
By federal law, to seal the deal,
within two hours of their arrival,
serve them a culturally appropriate hot meal.

You’ve got Republicans and you’ve got Democrats.
And their bickering is so unreal.
If only more things could be bipartisan,
like the culturally appropriate hot meal. 

I’m not talking hamburgers. Hold the lasagna!
It’s not the time for ham or veal.
If you’re a refugee, we’re going to welcome you
with a culturally appropriate hot meal. 

Arroz con pollo for the Cubans.
Halal, if you’re from Iraq.
The Congolese, they like variety.
Just make it culturally appropriate, and hot! 

Goal: $1.5M

Paul Bass PhotoThis is the ninth year the Foundation has organized the Great Give. This year 488 nonprofits have signed up to participate; the coverage area is 20 cities and towns in Greater New Haven, from Milford to Madison to Wallingford and the lower Naugatuck Valley.

Last year’s Great Give raised a total of $1.3 million. This year’s goal is $1.5 million, including $240,000 in prize money and matching donations.

You can listen to the WNHH Great Give radiothon on the web here, on TuneIn here, or over the air at 103.5 FM.

You can also watch the nonprofiteers sing for their supper on our Facebook Live page.


On the Radiothon on Tuesday, Elm Shakespeare gave us a preview of this summer’s production ...

... Sisters Journey mixed it up with Babz Rawls-Ivy ...

... the Land Trust’s Justin Elicker made up a song on the spot about recycling ...

... and James Sinclair weighed in on his 44 years — and counting —at Orchestra New England.

At a time when state dollars are disappearing and “the Trump administration is walking away” from urban priorities, we as a community need to stand up for ourselves,” Community Foundation CEO Will Ginsberg said as the day kicked off on WNHH FM. “Nor more than ever, it’s about community.”

Please tune in and hear about all the great work being done in our community!

You can make your donations here. Reminder: The Independent and WNHH are operated by a nonprofit called the Online Journalism Project. Please consider donating to us along with other New Haven nonprofits, to help us continue producing not-for-profit public-interest community journalism! Here’s the direct link.

Following is a temporary schedule — subject to change — of Great Give Radiothon appearances on WNHH FM:
Then he came on the radio to sing it. So that he’d have more opportunities to put it to use.

Tuesday May 1

8:30 a.m. Will Ginsberg/ Community Foundation For Greater New Haven
9 a.m. Stephanie Evans-Ariker/ Orchard House
9:15 a.m. Sisters Journey
9:30 a.m. Barbara Alexander/ Arts in CT
10 a.m. Steve Werlin/ DESK
10:30 a.m. Jillian Crowley/ FISH

(11-12 Break for “Dateline New Haven”)

Noon James Sinclair/ Orchestra New England
12:15 p.m. Jane Ferral/ Volunteer Caregivers of New Haven
12:40 p.m.  Rebecca Goodheart/  Elm City Shakespeare
1 p.m. Justin Elicker/ New Haven Land Trust
1:30 Judy Alperin/ Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven
2 p.m. Paul Therman/ Jewish Burial Society
2:30 p.m. Peg Olivera/108 Monkeys
3 p.m. Chris George/ IRIS
3:30 p.m. Maria Phillips/  Kids of Amreica’s Heroes
4 p.m. Sara Mariam/ New Haven Community Chorus
4:30 Isabella Melendez/ Elm City Chamber Fest

Wednesday May 2

9 a.m. Genese Clark/  Community Mediation
9:20 a.m. Mary Guerrera/ Fellowship Place
9:40 a.m. Dr. William Clark/ Career Resources
10 a.m. Jennifer Simpson/ Madison Historical Society
10:20 a.m.Gus Keach-Longo/ The Towers
10:40 a.m. Tom Anderson/ Audubon Society
11 a.m. Reads Fiona Bradford/ New Haven Reads
11:30 a.m. Alexis Smith/ New Haven Legal Assistance Association

12 p.m. Sister Mary Ellen Burns/ Apostle Immigrant Services
12:20 p.m. Nipuni Gomes/ CT Voices
12:40 p.m. Beacon Self-Directed Learning
1 p.m. Lauren Mednick/ Elm City Internationals Lauren Mednick
1:20 p.m. Bonita Grubbs/ Christian Community Action
1:40 p.m. Kid U Not Sally McMartin
2 p.m. Jessica Ciparelli/ Early Childhood Alliance
4 p.m. Katie Russo, Caitlin Daly/ new Haven Symphony Orchestra

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