by Dave O’Connor
On Friday, December 14th our nation experienced one of the worst tragedies imaginable and at the start of our first Mobster Food Drive all of our volunteers gathered in a circle in the parking lot of Webster Lake Gifts and we shared in a moment of silence. Part of the statement that I made to the group prior to the moment of silence was that while we cannot begin to understand the rationale of evil men, we can’t take a single moment of our lives for granted, and we must live every moment to the fullest.
The goal for us on Saturday was to fill the Food Share and we accomplished that goal, and then some.
Our area drop box locations proved to be very beneficial to the cause; even some of the businesses that didn’t get a lot of donations went out and filled their boxes themselves. The Webster School System, along with several other businesses in town reached out to their students, and their members, and they brought in enough food that our volunteers were busy for over an hour sorting and filling the box truck almost half way full. Over the next few hours we had several cars stop to drop off food, and our volunteers drove to our area grocery stores picking up food that was donated to other volunteers who were tasked with covering those stores.
One of the biggest surprises was the level of monetary donations that were collected at both our tent and at the local grocery stores. All told, by days end, our volunteers collected more than $3,000 in cash, checks, and gift cards to the local grocery stores. It was a great day for the Mobster Food Drive and of course for the recipient, the Webster/Dudley Food Share.
Since filling the Food Share was our goal, you would think that this would have been the highlight of our day, but that moment was shared by the 40-plus young people who joined us in making the day a success. These kids were made up of students in both the Dudley and Webster school systems and also children of our Mobster Volunteers. They came out in force on an unseasonably warm Saturday and not only helped our group in achieving its goal, but they reminded us that our future is going to be safe in their hands.
Park n’ Shop was staffed by a group of Dudley Middle School kids who, along with my sister and a few parents, collected so much food that our volunteers had to make five trips out to the store to pick up donations. The Bartlett Girls Basketball team along with their head coach and assistant coach worked at both Price Chopper and Shaw's Market, and we needed to make several trips to collect donations there as well. At the tent, cars would arrive to drop off food, and our young volunteers were running to cars to help people with their bags, and each donor was greeted by these kids with a smile and a thank you. It was so nice to witness.
At the first offload I recruited a group of Bartlett kids to join us so that we could unload the truck. Upon our arrival we were met by another group of volunteers who were at the Food Share all day preparing for our arrival. As a group we managed to offload the truck in about 20 minutes and following the offload I had told the Bartlett volunteers that they wouldn’t need to come back if they had other things to do. To my amazement, every one of those kids was back at the tent and they stayed with us for the rest of the afternoon.
So our event was a success, we achieved our goal, and our young people redefined for us what our overall mission was all about. While we mourned the passing of those 26 souls in the Sandy Hook Elementary School, we cherished the hours we got to spend working alongside several kids who weren’t much older than those victims. We showed them that anything is possible when you set your mind to it, and they showed us that our future will be safe in their hands.
I would like to extend a special thank you to all of the volunteers who helped in achieving our goal; from its inception to its successful completion. On behalf of the Webster Cash Mob, I would like to dedicate the success of the first ever Mobster Food Drive to the following area youth who helped us put food on the table for over 1100 families in our community:
Marcela Cuenca Diaz
Dudley Middle School:
Bartlett Girls Basketball:
Chris Delvecchio, Head Coach
Dave Marrier, Assistant Coach
Anne Marie Markiewicz
Sarah Wong Kam
- Tuesday, 18 December 2012