Meet the Founder
When Rosemarie McCarthy happened upon a mention of the One World Everyone Eats café model in a magazine, she went looking for a cafe to volunteer. The idea of a donation-based cafe, servicing a diverse socioeconomic range and providing nutritious and delicious meals, sounded like something to which she wanted to donate her time and energy. But to her surprise, there was nowhere to volunteer in the Long Island region. With grit and determination, she decided to start Harmony Cafe in her community of Patchogue.
McCarthy grew up in a working-class family, where money was tight and food insecurity was a cause of stress at times. When her father was diagnosed with heart disease and suddenly unable to work, it was a struggle to make ends meet. She hopes to create a place for people that are struggling a service that has dignity and no stigma attached to it and the food is fresh and healthy, and with no prices on the menu, you just pay what you can.
With a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management from St. Joseph’s College, an Associate's Degree in Paralegal Studies, and a NY State Real State license, McCarthy had the organizational skills and knowledge to found a non-profit that has gone on to feed thousands of people across a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds. Mccarthy lives in Patchogue and has one daughter that lives in Germany with her husband and both are Neuroscientist.
Since it’s beginnings in April of 2016, Harmony Cafe has been a welcoming, judgment-free space for everyone to pull up a chair and feed their bodies and souls. McCarthy envisions Harmony Cafe eventually having a bustling storefront cafe, where neighbors can socialize and eat in a judgment-free atmosphere. She hopes to provide a sense of pride and comfort to those in need, where food and community go hand in hand.
Meet the Team
Mary Ellen Grimes
Advisory Board Member
Mary Ellen Grimes is a Registered Dietitian who has worked in many areas of dietetics. She currently teaches Nutrition at SUNY Farmingdale and also holds a K -12 certification in Family and Consumer Science where she developed curriculum and taught nutrition and culinary classes. Mary Ellen’s past experiences include work as a clinical dietitian in acute care and long-term care. She also worked in community nutrition at Island Harvest Food Bank which has provided her the opportunity to work with food insecurity and hunger on Long Island – helping to bridge the gap between food insecure individuals and access to healthy food. While there she created and coordinate nutrition programs for agencies served by Island Harvest Food Bank, she also cooking demonstrations at shelters, food pantries, soup, and other places where people can get access to food demonstrating how to cook healthy meals easily. Mary Ellen obtained her Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in nutrition from Queen College. She also has a certification for teaching yoga, which she is passionate about. She has also recently worked with the LIAND board (Long Island Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) as a co-chair for one of the committees. Mary Ellen enjoys outdoor activities including cycling, running, and gardening.
Secretary Board Member
Maria Sunseri has always had a compassionate heart and her history of volunteering and community involvement is extensive. With a bachelor's degree in education, Maria spent many meaningful years working with the Maryhaven Center for Hope which caters to special needs people.
After taking time to focus on and raise her family, Maria has returned to volunteering with a renewed enthusiasm and unstoppable energy. Being ever mindful of food insecurity within her community, she currently volunteers for the Shepherds Inn Soup Kitchen and is the co-president of the St. Vincents DePaul Society Conference, both of which are hosted by St. Joseph's RC Church in Ronkonkoma, NY.
Maria started as a garden volunteer with the Harmony Cafe in the spring of 2021. With her combined past experiences and her devotion to improving the lives of those around her, Maria was a natural choice to fill the Secretary position on the board. Maria is well prepared for her role as Secretary Board Member for Harmony Cafe. Her organizational skills, attention to detail and superb listening skills will only serve to complement her position as she writes and records board meeting minutes, maintains accurate records and ensures that key policies and procedures are followed.
Maria is committed to making a lasting difference in her community through thoughtful and consistent action that provides a brighter future for all.
Advisory Board Member
Patricia Odusami is an adept business professional with extensive IT Project Management and Business development experience. She has over 20 years of significant accomplishments in the areas of project management, strategic technology planning, enterprise systems implementation, and business development. Having lived and worked across three continents, Patricia has a diverse background and international working experience in both the public and private sectors. She believes organizations should leverage diversity to power innovation and growth. Her life passion is ending world poverty one step at a time even If this means changing just one life.
Patricia is an alumnus of Birkbeck College, University of London, UK, and has undertaken an executive program in leadership from the University of Oxford, UK. She is a member of Women in Technology, Lean In, and the Project Management Institute, PMI. Patricia served for years as the Vice President, Education, Global Expression Toastmasters NY.
As a dependable and committed volunteer at Harmony Cafe, Veronica Sablich is a valued and admired team member. Her outreach now includes the role of Board Treasurer where her 20+ years of bookkeeping and accounting experience serve as her foundation and support her position perfectly.
Focusing on financial management and oversight, Veronica will assist with the budgets, fiscal reports, policies and internal controls that guide the decision-making process which upholds the cafe's mission and financial goals. She is incredibly responsible, conscientious and detail focused.
Being a Long Island native, Veronica was born and raised in Copiague and has considered Patchogue her hometown since 1996. With her daughter now grown and independent, she has been able to dedicate more time to her community and Harmony Cafe. Having experienced the benefits of community assistance firsthand, Veronica has vowed to give back and make a difference, honoring those who once helped her. Knowing the importance of a thoughtful and supportive community and the positive impact it has on those in need, Veronica considers finding and collaborating with Harmony Cafe a true blessing that she is deeply grateful for every single day.
As a spiritual person who revels in quieter times, Veronica’s hobbies include gardening, reading, and spending time in nature.