Volunteer Of The Year

2016 Volunteer of the Year Recognition

Mary Doherty and her amazing army of supporters (Teresa and Joe Machado, Ann Markman and countless others) have been behind the scenes angels to Abundant Table providing personal care items, blankets, gloves, hats, sweatsuits and more. Perhaps the most amazing contribution has come through the development of Murphy’s cupboard. Many of our guests own dogs/cats and love their beloved furry friends more than they love themselves. With money being tight for many of our guests, Mary donates supplies and homemade goodie bags to help feed, clean and provide quality of life provision to many four legged friends. Mary is always looking for ways to help, and does so regularly without the need for recognition or praise. A quiet angel, Mary we thank you and your New Hampshire friends for their unwavering support for the Abundant Table guests – two and four legged!

Laurie Shea joined the board this year and made instant impact. She approached, saying she had a big idea she wanted to execute for the right organization. Her vision became a reality in June, 2016 with the highly successful “Abundant Table Ultimate Team Challenge” which raised over $30,000 for the organization. In this event, twelve teams of ten competed in a series of physical, mental and team challenges to earn top dog bragging rights. This event helped out Abundant Table on the community map, and took the organization from moderately known, to a household name! Laurie, your enthusiasm is contagious and we thank you for your vision and big heart!

2015 Volunteer of the Year Recognition

The phrase “it takes a village” couldn’t be more true when thinking about the contributions of these three individuals. For years, Mike Power, Sheila Bennett and Alyssa Ellis have carried the major pick-up load of Panera Bread and COSTCO goods. Mike picks up Panera goodies on Tuesday evenings and brings them to AT in preparation for our Wednesday meal. Sheila and Alyssa split Wednesday morning runs to COSTCO, bringing breadgoods and desserts to AT. Additionally, Alyssa and her family have been pillars to the Abundant Table family for many years, serving with their neighborhood and as a family. Without these amazing individuals, the Abundant Table would not be able to operationally go! There are opportunities for just about everyone within Abundant Table, and if you can’t volunteer on Wednesday or Friday evenings, opportunities abound that are instrumental to our organizational success! Thank you for your gifts of time, Mike, Sheila and Alyssa!

2014 Volunteer of the Year Recognition

Kraig & Lynda Jensen have been volunteering with abundant table, inc. for two years. They faithfully come every Friday evening to deliver meals to our home-bound shut-ins. Their kind and unassuming manner makes them welcomed guests at the homes of these individuals. Additionally, Kraig and Lynda offer their time on special holidays, namely thanksgiving, and are key contributors facilitating the major effort of providing 150 meals to hessco seniors on Thanksgiving Day. Kraig and Lynda are also key volunteers at our annual “get off your buns and run/have fun” fundraiser and typically man the water stations (decked out in costume of course!). They are wonderful assets to our AT family and we are so very grateful for their service, generosity, and kindness.

2013 Volunteer of the Year Recognition

Sue Breen has been volunteering with abundant table for a little over a year though it seems like forever. She made an instant, positive impact at her first night of service and has been volunteer extraordinaire ever since. Sue volunteers every Friday evening, and comes after a long day of work in the city. Sue is beloved by volunteers and guests alike for her kind, compassionate demeanor. She is always willing to do ANY task (deliveries, making dessert, kitchen work, serving, packing meals, cutting bread, mopping the floor etc.) and does so with a smile and most positive attitude. Sue kindly takes left over bread to the Dedham food pantry on Saturday mornings. She has brought her young granddaughter to help at abundant table on multiple occasions and it is beautiful to see how sue is teaching her the importance of giving at a young age. No task is too big or too small for sue. She is an absolute gem with a heart of gold. Our organization is leaps and bounds better for having her part of it! Sue, you are the best!

The Abbott family (Lynne, Dave, Evelyn and Renee) have been volunteering with abundant table for a little over three years. Lynne and the girls started helping out through the girl scout troop but then branched out to help independently as a family after. The girls are as sweet as ever and have been known to make placemats, play their instruments and bring large doses of good cheer to the guests who adore the company of young ones and have loved watching these two sweet young ladies grow up!! Lynne is always so generous and brings bountiful amounts of stuffing and the like to help with preparations for our big thanksgiving meal. They have also delivered dinners and were a huge hit amongst our shut in friends. It is such a beautiful thing to see a family give of their time on a regular basis. They work beautifully together, and a big kudos to Lynne and Dave for teaching the girls the importance of service. We are better for having you a part of our team! Thank you for everything!

2012 Volunteer of the Year Recognition

Kristen Cleary-Campbell has been a standout volunteer for 6 years. Willing to do any task, she is a wonderful server, always taking a little extra time to engage with the guests making them feel extra special. Kristen and her family come in a few times each year and man the kitchen, executing a meal that is always incredibly nutritious and delightfully tasty. Often working with family and friends, it is a true example of the great good that can happen when people come together for the greater community. Whenever Kristen comes to volunteer, she brings exquisite desserts. Never from boxed mix, each dessert is thoughtfully made, healthy, creative and beyond delicious. an attention to detail, desserts are often garnished with fresh fruit, chocolate drizzles or other such colorful splashes. Kristen regularly fills in for Kathy doing whole foods pick-ups, and graciously participates in most all of the abundant table special events and fundraisers. Recently, Kristen’s creativity was on display as she thought to develop an “abundant table top-ten list”. Kristen offers the guest’s monthly “top ten” lists of: what to do with day old bread, what to do with vegetables, etc. what a wonderful way to empower the guests and educate them as to ‘out of the box’ ways to utilize donated items in a simple, cost effective manner. A nurse at Norwood hospital, Kristen often comes to volunteer before or after a long shift, never complaining of fatigue or complaining. Her many selfless gifts, time, financial donation and innovation have considerably bettered abundant table and we thank her for her many years of faithful and outstanding service. You’re one in a million, Kristen!

Charlie Hafey started volunteering nearly three years ago upon the inspiration of his daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth volunteered at abundant table through the amnesty project at Westwood high school. Charlie followed his daughter’s lead and joined our team as a regular, twice a month volunteer. Charlie is a staple of the kitchen crew and always has a “what do you need me to do” attitude, willing to complete any task. Kitchen service is always efficient when Charlie is at the helm, taking pride in properly ensuring that everything is served hot and on time! Charlie regularly purchases and prepares meals for our guests. Always hearty and healthy, Charlie’s special dinners are always delicious and made with top notch food. rather than serving iceberg lettuce, Charlie always selects romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, colorful peppers and the like which offers the guests a beautiful plate and a healthy salad. His ravioli lasagna is a guest favorite and is asked for over and over again. A teacher in the Norwood school system, Charlie has a very special way with the young people of abundant table. be it teaching William (an AT guest) how to use the dish washer or efficiently plate food for 70, offering to launch a rocket with a young AT volunteer who is fatherless, or guiding members of the Walpole hockey team as to the ways of cleaning up, Charlie is always a wonderful example and guide to the young people. One of the very few men in a volunteer troop of mostly women, Charlie regularly goes above and beyond to ensure that the guests treat everyone, especially the female volunteers, with the utmost respect and kindness. Thank you for everything, Charlie!!

Jennifer Lifsitz is a senior at Medfield high school. When Jen contacted me a while back about doing a project to achieve her girl scout “gold award”, I thought to myself here we go again. too often, teens use AT as a way of receiving community service credit and are true minimalists. Barely invested, they muddle through rarely making a lasting contribution and are only engaged while their hour’s sheet is being signed. Jen is a breath of fresh air and hands down the finest teen we have ever had volunteering with abundant table. Jen created an amazing resource book for AT guest and volunteer use, filled with phone numbers and information regarding shelter, domestic violence, transportation, etc. so often guests come to us needing additional assistance beyond the realm of regular AT services, and we scramble hunting for a quick answer. Thanks to Jen, we now have a comprehensive, thorough, up to date book, truly abundant with resources. Jen came to volunteer on a monthly basis with school friends. She and her friends made desserts each week; ones that were always creative and homemade. The Halloween cupcakes with frankenstein, spiders/webs, and ghosts will always live in infamy as they were just dear. During the dinner hour during the dreaded 545-6 downtime before “seconds”, Jen and her friends engaged the guests in games. Be it jeopardy or charades, the guests thoroughly enjoyed playing games as it added lighthearted fun to the dinner hour. All questions/games were thoughtfully prepared, and Jen went over and beyond to purchase prizes for the winners. my favorite thing about Jen did not come from game planning or dessert making. Jen has the most wonderful group of friends who have the utmost admiration and love for her. Each week, the girls Jen came with were better than the week before and from soup to nuts, everyone said that they were committed to service because they were inspired by Jen’s quite leadership and example. Jen has been joined volunteering as well by her mother and sister; equally delightful people. Together they rallied the troops and donated many items, namely turkeys, for our famed thanksgiving dinner. What a wonderful testament to a young life lived well and an example to us all about encouraging others to do service. Your future is so bright, Jen!!

2011 Volunteer of the Year Recognition

Carol Demarais: Carol has been a faithful volunteer for many years. While Carol is often accompanied by her husband and sons, she alone has made a very meaningful and lasting impact on weekly Wednesday evening service. Carol volunteers once a month and picks up Panera the Tuesday night before her shift, bakes a homemade dessert, volunteers and makes a monthly monetary donation to benefit Abundant Table operational needs. Carol has also been responsible for the recruitment of other amazing Wednesday evening volunteers; individuals who have added greatly to our team. A steady-eddy, Carol is an organization’s dream, always stepping up, offering to give all she can to better the greater cause. Carol is a guest favorite and server extraordinaire. Engaging and respectful, she has forged many meaningful relationships with our guests. Thank you, Carol. You are a true blessing to Abundant Table and we are so very grateful for all you do.

Ann Fellini: When thinking about the best possible qualities of a volunteer, Ann Fellini is exemplary. When Ann began volunteering with Abundant Table, it was as if she had been with us for years. The type of person who knows what to be done without being asked, Ann is a worker bee who willingly and happily does any task necessary to get the job done. Whether it be making drinks, wrapping pastry, plating food, serving meals, chatting with guests, driving guests home, making homemade desserts, doing Panera runs or picking up the Chipotle food donations twice a week; there is no job Ann won’t do. She has a wonderful rapport with the guests and exudes a gentle, self-effacing manner. Sadly, Ann’s husband has been very ill this year and she has been his primary caregiver. Ann continued volunteering without fail during this difficult time and never let the stress and concerns of her personal life affect her service. Thank you, Ann. We are all better for knowing you.

The Wolf Family: Sue, Adam and their wonderful brood of children, neighbors and friends have been affiliated with Abundant Table for 5 years. The Wolf’s take the responsibility of “putting on a dinner” every six weeks; from soup to nuts. Shopping, cooking, serving and baking, the Wolfs give tirelessly in time and finance. Sue and her gang hit the road and deliver meals on a weekly basis to homebound guests, and have fostered meaningful relationships with certain guests providing special assistance making their daily life much more manageable. Sue and Adam have been Abundant Table board members and faithful supporters. It has been inspiring to watch as their leadership has motivated dozens of teens to serve their community and work to better a common cause. Thank you all for your amazing efforts on behalf of Abundant Table. We are most grateful!