Holiday Spirit In The Air At The Gala!
Written By: Kelly Clasby, Business Manager
On Friday, December 9th, 2016, Signet proudly sponsored Interfaith’s Annual Feed The Hungry Gala for the second year in a row. I was fortunate enough to attend and was joined by Bill Harrington, Becky Rogers, Brian Godin, Denise O’Keefe, Jay & Heidi Vigneau, and Mark Danckert for a FUN-filled night at Granite Links in Quincy, Ma. From the complimentary Tesla shuttle…to all of the indulgent food & spirits provided by some of the best local restaurants and distilleries…to the festive live music and silly games like “Wine Toss” and “Hole in One” Putting Challenge…to the incredibly talented live auctioneer, the evening was filled with a lot of fun for those who gathered together to support a very special organization.
Some of you may remember reading about last year’s “Voice of Hunger” speaker Stephanie. She had shared her own story of how Interfaith helped get her back on her feet after making the life-changing choice to remove herself & her 4 children from an abusive situation. Stephanie surprised us all with a recorded update and informed everyone she is currently employed and has not needed assistance from the food pantry in about a year. She is also still enrolled in the nursing certification program and on track to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse.
This year’s “Voice of Hunger” was a young woman named Priscilla, who was joined by her husband John and their baby boy. Everyone in the room was immediately touched by how incredibly nervous Priscilla was to speak and how she was simply overcome with genuine emotion. Her and her family were already struggling to keep their one-bedroom apartment when her husband fractured his elbow and was out of work. They knew they needed some sort of help if they were going to survive and, thankfully, someone referred them to Interfaith. Right away, they were touched by how welcoming the entire staff was at Interfaith and how they took the time to meet with Priscilla and her family to listen to what their specific needs were so that they could provide them with exactly what they needed most.
After hearing this story and seeing the direct impact Interfaith has had on an entire family, one could not ignore the feeling of genuine compassion, positive encouragement and the incredibly strong sense of community that took over the room that night – especially as the crowd cheered Priscilla on when she struggled to find the words to express her gratitude. The live auction that immediately followed only continued to demonstrate that same spirit of overwhelming generosity as hands flew up in the air, one by one, to ensure that the evening’s target goal was met. It was an amazing site to see and a truly inspiring event that will not be forgotten. I know, for me personally, stories like Stephanie’s and Priscilla’s certainly put things in perspective and raise our awareness to those in our community who truly are in need. I hope for those who attended the gala for the first time, that this event provided them with a renewed sense of purpose for when we volunteer at the food pantry each month…or when we collect backpacks & school supplies…or when we host a toy drive…and when we participate in Interfaith’s annual 5k, etc.
Interfaith also honored their Community Hero of the Year, Charlene. Charlene is now a volunteer over at Interfaith’s Bureau Drawer Thrift Shop but once needed to frequent the store herself. She now takes enormous pride in her overseeing of the shop and her dedication to the organization is unwavering…to the point where she will take socks from her husband’s own drawer if they are needed! This acknowledgement also reminded us that, in addition to being one of the largest food pantries in New England, Interfaith also provides several other services & programs like homelessness prevention, life skills education, assistance with professional attire for those clients actively seeking jobs, community gardening and mental counseling services for adults, children, couples and families. Because of their amazing staff and diverse program offerings, Interfaith is able to address the immediate needs of the entire South Shore Community.
This event was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season and reminded us all of what true holiday spirit is. Thank you to SIGNET for sponsoring this event (again!) and for allowing us to take part in such a meaningful program all year round!