Franklin Food Pantry volunteers were honored recently with special recognition awards for their extraordinary service.
Eight volunteers were presented with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, which is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Through a shared mission of inspiring more to answer the call to service, the President’s Volunteer Service Award celebrates the impact we can all make in bettering our communities and our world,” says the organization’s website.
At the annual recognition luncheon honoring volunteers, Erin Lynch, Pantry executive director, was joined by State Representative Jeff Roy and Franklin town officials Jeff Nutting and Jamie Hellen.
“Presidential recognition sets you apart from your peers,” said Roy in presenting the awards. “It is a tremendous honor. Even though you may not seek recognition, your example delivers a powerful message that encourages others to take action.
“We are all involved in this journey called life. Good character reminds us that we must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another. And to you volunteers who gave your measure of devotion to those suffering from food insecurity, we give our heartfelt thanks.”
Sue Strittmatter, executive assistant, received the Gold Award for more than 500 hours of service during the year. Silver Awards for 250 – 499 hours of service were given to Molly Kilburn, information and resource coordinator; Dan Davis, code specialist; and Donna O’Neill, client services and trainer. Bronze Awards for 100 – 249 hours of service were given to Dave Strittmatter, driver; Diane Daddario, inventory; Kym Pruitt, stocker and client services; and Jeanne Hummel, client services and Mobile Pantry.
“We are truly fortunate to have such devoted and compassionate volunteers,” said Lynch. “We count on so many volunteers in our operation of the Pantry. Their dedication is extraordinary, with many giving us a weekly, and sometimes a daily commitment. They make it possible for us to serve the nearly 1,000 individuals who count on us.”
Along with the ultimate honor of presidential recognition, award recipients received a personalized certificate, an official medallion, and a congratulatory letter from the President of the United States.
Volunteers donated nearly 5,000 hours of service to the Pantry last year. They work directly with clients in the Pantry store, pick up food from local grocers and farms and deliver it to the Pantry, stock and organize shelves, and assist with the Weekend Backpack Program and Mobile Pantry. The Pantry relies on more than 60 volunteers each month to fulfill all the operational responsibilities.