Women's Activism NYC

Doreen Wohl

1932 - Today

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Doreen Wohl was born into an English Quaker family in 1932 and came to the U.S. in 1954 to work with the American Friends Service Committee and later with the National Council of Churches. Her work with migratory farm workers, harvesting beans in Pennsylvania, sugar beets in North Dakota, cherries and pickles in Michigan, and cotton in Texas, immediately exposed Doreen to the underside of the American Dream. From 1956 – 1990 Doreen worked with South Side Settlement House in Columbus, Ohio and University Settlement and Kingsbridge Heights Community Center in New York City developing family day care, after school programs, and residential summer-camping. For twenty years between 1992 and 2012 Doreen transformed the West Side Coalition Against Hunger Emergency Food Program. Guiding the organization into a participatory cooperative, with customer volunteers and supermarket style food selection, it aims to change our perception of hungry people by working in partnership with them. The program offers social service counseling, entitlement enrollment, and a chef training program. Customer-volunteers are involved in all aspects including serving on the board. By 1997 ESCAH was actively sharing its “Customer-Cooperative Supermarket Model” broadly, and that outreach continues.

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