2020 Partner Appreciation Day

Published on January 28, 2020

The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) honored its most dedicated volunteers, donors, agencies, and advocates at our annual Partner Appreciation Day on Friday, Jan. 24.

This past year GBFB distributed more than 56 million healthy meals to people in need. We can only do this because of the people and organizations who support us and believe in our mission.

Congratulations to this year’s award winners, and Thank You to everyone that has supported us! Together, we can end hunger here.

Founder’s Award: Hannah Commoss, Camille Valentine, Wegmans

Hannah Commoss and Camille Valentine co-chaired our Tenth Anniversary Women Fighting Hunger Breakfast this past September. The event was our largest and most successful fundraising breakfast ever with over 440 guests. Camille and Hannah were instrumental in growing the event, building support amongst current donors as well as attracting new donors and new corporate partners. All told, the event raised over $500,000 for hunger-relief.

Founders Award 2020
Founder’s Award: Camille Valentine and Hannah Commoss

Wegmans has partnered with GBFB since its first store opened in our service area six years ago. This past year they donated over 350,000 pounds of food from five stores—a 36 percent increase from the previous year. Over half of that food was protein, produce and dairy items, the food our clients need most to live healthy, active lives.

Founders Award 2020 Wegmans
Founder’s Award: Wegmans, accepted by Merchandising Director Melissa Walsh

Leadership Award: Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market served as GBFB’s Premier Sponsor for FreshFest 2019. They selected GBFB to be their “5 Percent Day” Community Partner last spring, from which GBFB received 5 percent of net sales from 30 Boston Area Whole Foods Market locations. That resulted in Whole Foods providing GBFB with over $180,000 in financial and in-kind donations.

Leadership Award, Whole Foods Market
Leadership Award: Whole Foods Market, accepted by Rick Bonin, President of Whole Foods Market, North Atlantic Region

President’s Choice Award: Innovative Development Council

The Innovative Development Council (IDC) is a group of 22 donors that came together a few years ago to develop innovative solutions to support our mission. In the past year the IDC introduced 91 new people to GBFB and hosted our most successful Farm to Table dinner at Wright-Locke Farm in Winchester. The Farm to Table dinner raised over $110,000, which helped us provide nearly 330,000 healthy meals.

Innovative Development Council
President’s Choice Award: Innovative Development Council (IDC), accepted by IDC Chair Beth Garvin

Food Donor of the Year: Cumberland Farms

Cumberland Farms is a major supporter of our food rescue or “enabling” program. With 70 stores in our service area, Cumberland Farms has made it possible for countless of our member agencies to easily access over 175,000 pounds of food. Since becoming our partner in November 2017, Cumberland Farms has “enabled” the equivalent of over 275,000 healthy meals. Many of these donations are nutritious “grab-and-go” meals like wraps and salads, that are highly sought after by our agencies and their clients.

2020 Food Donor
Food Donor of the Year: Cumberland Farms, accepted by Bryan Pierce, Senior Marketing Specialist at Cumberland Farms

Community Partner of the Year: Interfaith Social Services

Interfaith has been a partner agency of GBFB since 1992. Last year they distributed over 630,000 pounds of food and served over 1,900 clients per month. They have seen their annual number of clients grow from 10,000 to over 23,000 in the last decade. This year they used $25,000 in funding from GBFB to purchase a new box truck, greatly increasing their capacity to pick up food, saving them money they can use to help more people in their community.

2020 Community Partner
Community Partner of the Year: Interfaith Social Services, accepted by Interfaith Social Services Executive Director Rick Doane

Volunteer of the Year (Individual): Suzy Lewis, Paul Palefski

Suzy volunteers monthly at GBFB’s Mobile Market in Somerville at Clarendon Hill, where she helps distribute food to those in need. In addition to being a dedicated volunteer and generous donor, Suzy is a member of our Legacy Society, which honors donors who have committed to making a lasting difference for GBFB through a bequest in their will.

2020 Volunteer A
Volunteer of the Year: Suzy Lewis

Paul has been volunteering at GBFB for 4 years, dedicating over 600 hours of his time to our mission. He supports GBFB on a weekly basis and is a huge help to the volunteer team as he assists with setup, trains new volunteers, and leads tasks to ensure volunteers are engaged. Since retiring, Paul has a strong interest in support hunger relief organizations, not only with GBFB but volunteering twice per week at our partner agency, Community Servings in Jamaica Plain.

2020 Volunteer B
Volunteer of the Year: Paul Palefski

Volunteer of the Year (Institutional): Slalom

Slalom has been volunteering with GBFB since 2014. In that time, Slalom employees have spent over 500 hours volunteering at GBFB, where they have sorted and packed enough food to provide more than 200,000 meals. This year Slalom deepened their impact by holding a peer-to-peer campaign that raised over $40,000 for GBFB, helping us provide an additional 120,000 healthy meals.

2020 Institutional Volunteer
Institutional Volunteer of the Year: Slalom, accepted by Slalom Practice Director Jeff Yeakley

Public Advocate of the Year: Sen. Michael Rodrigues, Rep. Andres Vargas, Rep. Aaron Vega

Sen. Michael Rodrigues led the efforts to increase funding for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP) in the state budget this past year. MEFAP was funded this year at $20 million, its highest level ever, helping provide 25 million healthy meals to people in need across the state. Over a quarter of the food we acquire, we purchase through with MEFAP funding, a line item in the budget we must advocate for every year.


Rep. Andy Vargas and Rep. Aaron Vega co-sponsored the Breakfast After the Bell bill in the House and helping it unanimously pass through the House. Last week the bill passed through the Senate, and when we achieve the final step of passing it into law, more than 150,000 low-income students across the state will have access to breakfast. Rep. Vargas and Rep. Vega are both powerful champions for our cause and we are grateful for their commitment to ensuring that no student in our Commonwealth starts their school day hungry.

Public Advocates
Public Advocates of the Year: Representative Andres Vargas and Representative Aaron Vega

View more photos on our Facebook page >

Congratulations to the award recipients!

2 thoughts on “2020 Partner Appreciation Day”

  1. Where can I find a complete list of partner food banks/food pantries/ markets, etc., i.e. everyone and every institution or company that gives or receives or buys from. GBFB? I just donated to the 5 x 5 drive and want to see where the money goes. Thanks

    1. Hi Martha. We work with over 500 partner agencies across Eastern Massachusetts. You can see the ones in your area here:

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