Staff Spotlight: Shewa Shwani and Food Connections

Food is very much on Shewa Shwani’s mind. Not just because she recently pursued Food Studies as an undergrad, or because she works in our Homeless Services (where food scarcity is an issue for many clients), but also because she is part of a small team organizing a dinner for 700 people next week.

“People connect over food,” Shewa says, to explain this overarching interest.

Shewa is an Administrative Program Coordinator for our Homeless Services. In this role she helps coordinate the efforts of our Permanent Supportive Housing Services, Homelessness Prevention Services, and Men’s Shelter. Her interest in helping people who struggle with poverty is informed by her religion, her mom’s work as a case worker, and her undergraduate degree, which she just finished in May 2018. Shewa holds a B.S. in Environmental Science with a minor in Food Studies from SUNY ESF. She’s been involved in many community groups including the Food Recovery Network, We Rise Above the Streets and InterFaith Works.  She was recognized in 2017 as a Martin Luther King, Jr. “Unsung Hero” by Syracuse University.

“I feel it’s my purpose in life to take care of others,” says Shewa.

For the last few weeks, Shewa’s time outside work has been largely taken up planning the 3rd Annual Syracuse Ramadan Iftar. The event is Saturday, May 18th, at 7 pm at Manley Field House (1301 E. Colvin Street). The celebration is open to the entire community and is part of the holy month of Ramadan, which is celebrated by Muslims around the world. Ramadan includes fasting from dawn to dusk for the month, and emphasizes charity, empathy and building character. Iftar is the meal taken after sunset during Ramadan to break the fast. Admission is free and RSVPs are due by May 15th. RSVPs are required and can be made here:  

Shewa has been involved with this event for several years, and looks forward to the opportunity to share the spirit of Ramadan with the community.

“Ramadan is a time when everyone becomes more spiritual,” says Shewa, “it’s a time of fasting and discipline, but it’s also a social month. I attend iftars around Syracuse all month and I see people I only see this time of year. It’s wonderful to reconnect over a meal.”

We’re proud to have generous, community-minded people like Shewa on our team at Catholic Charities. It’s through the dedication of staff like her that we’re able to create hope and transform lives in Onondaga County.  We wish her the best for a successful event on the 18th!

Posted by Bridget Dunn, Communications Manager

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