Our Founder

Chef dion

Dion Cucuta was born and raised in Harlem, NYC during the Heroin uprise & epidemic. He escaped the uprising and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1977, and served until 1983. It was in the Marine Corps that he became a cook, and his teamwork skills, leadership, and deft establishment of relationships grew substantially during his time in active service.

Upon returning to Bergen County, Dion began several after-school programs to work with and teach life skills to underprivileged youth, through programs such as his middle school "Culinary Cadets" class and the mentorship programs that he leads with his wife, Stephanie Taylor-Cucuta. Chef Dion has provided answers and hope to so many young people through his roles of football coach, culinary instructor, and mentor, and he's unwaveringly devoted to helping the students, gangs, and athletes that he's worked with. He describes helping people as "a core value that courses through his veins," and his extraordinary community improvement efforts clearly echo this sentiment.

Dion and his wife Stephanie founded DCVYP in 2010, and the organization has grown exponentially in the last ten years. In March of 2020, when the pandemic took over the entire world, Chef Dion went ahead full throttle with a weekly food distribution program. He spoke to the Table To Table food rescue organization, many worship houses, and several local nonprofits to create the Table To Table Tuesdays food distribution. The program is currently servicing 3,000 families weekly and supporting the 3rd & 4th regions in Bergen County.

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Watch On...

The Today show

Points of Light

I’m honored to be recognized on the @PointsofLight Inspiration Honor Roll as part of The #GHWBPointsofLightAwards. Join @pointsoflight as they recognize and lift up stories of volunteers and leaders who exemplify their belief that everyone has the power to create change. View my profile on the Points of Light website below


Best,

Dion Cucuta

Founder, DCVYP

30 Sec Spotlight- Dion.mov

Russ Berrie Making a Difference award winner 2021

"Chef Dion,” a military veteran from Teaneck and this year’s $50,000 winner, is described as an irreplaceable asset to his community. Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic created devastating food insecurity for many vulnerable residents in Bergen County, Chef Dion jumped into action."

Winner of the rotary club's president's award

...and a New Jersey State Resolution for his community contributions

A "2021 Points of light inspiration honoree"

"When COVID-19 invaded the world, Dion went full throttle and created Table To Table Tuesday’s food distribution in the Englewood, NJ community, partnering with worship houses and local nonprofits. They distributed over 2 million meals to residents and military veterans in Bergen County, Jersey City and Passaic County."

POINTS OF LIGHT INTERVIEW

With Jenna Bush from the Today Show!