Hearty Start

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Board of Directors

Michael Ottley, Board President

A chef of nearly 30 years and a native of the Finger Lakes Region in Upstate New York, Chef Michael Ottley has long had a keen appreciation for the bounty of resources that the earth produces. As a producer he takes great pride in his passion for growing and foraging organic fruits and vegetables from his own backyard as well as local community gardens.

After two decades of working in hospitality management and food operations, Michael chose a unique career path leveraging his craft and skill to a new demographic – New York City’s hungry and most vulnerable population. Michael’s passion is unearthing fresh, sustainable community agriculture and applying those concepts in all aspects of operations at The Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen – the largest emergency food program in New York and the second largest in the United States, feeding over 1,000 disadvantaged New Yorkers daily.

Michael is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY as well as member of the largest professional chefs’ organization in North America – The American Culinary Federation. Michael is a notable industry expert, and has presented at numerous conferences, such as the James Beard Foundation’s Food Waste Salon, Food Bank for New York City’s Conference on Hunger and Poverty, and Down to Earth Markets’ Conference on “Communities Relationship and Their Farmers Market.”

 Breakfast Sandwich of Choice: Turkey Bacon, Egg, and Cheese 

The Reverend Dr. Anna S. Pearson

Although she grew up outside of Boston, Anna has lived most of her adult life in Connecticut and New York. She graduated from Barnard College with a combined major in English and Women’s Studies and went on to earn a Master’s in Divinity from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and a Doctorate in Ministry from Hartford Seminary. She has served as Chaplain, Chair of the Theology Department and Community Service Coordinator at Kent School in Kent, CT, on staff at St. John’s Church in West Hartford Connecticut, where she led programs focused on intentional sustainable living, and as Rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Hastings on Hudson, NY where she established and expanded food initiatives and community partnerships.

Anna is especially interested in spiritual tenacity, courage and humor, and she has experienced all that and more as the Executive Director of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, the largest partner of Hearty Start. She feels it is a privilege and a joy to work with guests, volunteers and supporters in the work of establishing relationships focused on addressing immediate human needs.


Steve Fanto

Steve Fanto is the Manager of Volunteer & Community Engagement at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, the largest soup kitchen in New York City and State. In this role, Steve cultivates relationships with agencies and community-based organizations to increase awareness and participation in the soup kitchen's meal and volunteer programs. Following a successful career in finance, Steve received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Hunter College. Prior to joining the soup kitchen in 2019, Steve served as Case Manager at Travelers Safe Haven and as a Homeless Outreach Worker at Port Authority.