Pleasanton's own Dave Moirao was honored by the San Francisco 49ers as this year's recipient of the organization's Community Quarterback Award, which recognizes volunteers who show leadership, dedication and a commitment to bettering the Bay Area.
Moirao was nominated and selected for his work with Culinary Angels, an almost entirely volunteer-based Livermore nonprofit that prepares and delivers free, healthy meals throughout the Tri-Valley to people undergoing cancer treatment and others facing serious health challenges.
"David has been an integral part of our organization from its early days," Culinary Angels Executive Director Lisa McNaney said in a statement announcing Moirao's award.
"He consistently invests about 40 hours per week of his own time in a myriad of ways -- from helping to put systems and a structure in place, to strategizing how we can serve more people, to working in the kitchen. We would not be where we are today without him," she added.
Moirao, 73, was chosen to receive the Community Quarterback Award out of more than 35 candidates nominated by nonprofits across Northern California. As the winner, he will receive $5,000 for Culinary Angels
"To me, the award is a personal satisfaction, but I think the bigger reward is really getting people to understand what we have to offer as an organization," Moirao told the Weekly. "We serve a little under 300 meals a month right now, and we know that there are more individuals out there that could use our help and it's a matter of making sure they're aware that we deliver good, quality healthy meals."
Moirao said he started volunteering with Culinary Angels about four years ago after looking into different local volunteer opportunities. He had been retired for a while before that and wanted to fill some of his time giving back to his community.
After struggling to find something of interest, he said one day he found a flyer for Culinary Angels on his desk that he thought may have been left there by his wife.
"It might have been a friendly hint to get out of the house, I don't know, but it was just perfect for me," Moirao said. "I enjoy cooking, I enjoy having people satisfied with a good meal and so I filled out my application and completed my certification and started working."
Moirao started in the kitchen prepping ingredients before moving on to cooking and even assisting with baking. Over time, he's had a hand in just about every aspect of the organization, including drawing from his IT background to identify new software for scheduling volunteers and running the meal delivery program.
His connection with Culinary Angels and its mission has also become deeply personal.
Moirao's daughter, Kenna Moirao, died from cancer last year. She was a third-grade teacher at Frederiksen Elementary School in Dublin. "She made a significant impact on all the children, the staff and fellow instructors," Moirao said of his late daughter.
The experience of losing his daughter strengthened Moirao's commitment to Culinary Angels' efforts to help those facing a serious medical diagnosis, which was demonstrated by his leadership in pivoting to delivering organic produce and recipes to recipients during a period when meal operations were suspended due to the pandemic, according to the nonprofit.
To learn more about Culinary Angels, visit culinaryangels.org.