Whenever someone asks me why exactly I do what I do, there are a few specific memories that flash in my head. I remember the first person I ever gave food to and the way he changed my life ten years ago. I think about that one little girl who I gave a teddy bear to so long ago, the one I have seen grow up year after year delivering a Thanksgiving turkey to her house, how she is always eager to show me that she still has her bear (AKA Princess Sparkle Glitter Queen). I think about the faces I have gotten to know each week at the food pantry, those conversations I look forward to and the many new friends that unfortunately, it was the pandemic which brought us together. When asked why I work so hard, I can’t help but think about my classmates who rely on the cafeteria meals to get them through each day, and the one in six kids across the country who are in the same boat.
Anytime that I am recognized for my work, I am always so shocked. Utterly grateful, but equally surprised. While I know not enough people understand the significance of food insecurity in America, I never consider my work to be anything more than a job that must be done, my true mission and purpose in life.
It was a regular Sunday morning for me, spent in the cellar below Orient Pearl Chinese restaurant, where I stuff weekend take-home bags for the thirty students in the Epping school district who rely on school lunches. Unaware that I had been nominated for the honor, I was a little bit confused to see the email on my phone that I was selected by the New England Patriots as a 2021 Difference Maker of the season.
All season long, it was so special to be recognized by the New England Patriots. It means so much for surprises like this to happen because although recognition of will never be the reason why I do what I do, any sort of platform and donation like this allows me to further my impact and that is what this is all about. Both the grant and the media coverage from this award will go so far, I am eternally thankful for the opportunity to make my mission of Hope a little bit more accessible.
Not to mention- I also got a super cool football with my name on it!!! And meeting with the Kraft family, some Patriots players, and many more talented behind the scenes team members of the NFL over Zoom was also something I will never forget.