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S. Elizabeth Giarrusso to receive Mother Lavender Humanitarian Award

Sister Elizabeth Giarrusso will receive the Annual Mother Lavender Humanitarian Award on April 25, 2014, from Cornhill Community for Change, Utica, N.Y., at its 11th annual tribute dinner. Rev. Dr. Mary Webster, Pastor of the First Baptist Church, New Hartford, N.Y., will be the keynote speaker.

Mother Lavender, a Utica icon, was an evangelist and community activist who was born into slavery. She settled in Utica in 1892 with her husband and sons. Her humanitarian efforts are legendary. Committed to aiding the needy, both spiritually and materially, Mother Lavender held the conviction that no one should begin a New Year on an empty stomach. Starting in 1900 she hosted New Year's Day dinners in her home to which all were welcome.

Cornhill Community for Change believes it is fitting to give honor to this spiritual woman of compassion, strength and vision through this annual award. The board is pleased to name Sister Elizabeth Giarrusso, who embodies Mother Lavender’s attributes, as this year’s recipient.

The dinner includes a traditional Mother Lavender meal of soup and sandwiches. Copies of the book I'll See You in Heaven, which chronicles the life of Mother Lavender, will be available by author Malio J. Cardarelli, a native of Utica.

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