This summer, I had the opportunity to participate in a great community service event coordinated by the West Side Benevolent Circle, located in Mansfield, MA. This center’s mission statement is “neighbors helping neighbors,” and they’re constantly living up to this message by holding a variety of events for the community throughout the year.
The inaugural Summer Lunch in the Park event, which kicked off the center’s four-part 2019 summer series, focused on providing lunches for Mansfield students in need. When my wife, who’s on the planning board, asked if I wanted to help, I just couldn’t say no! My family volunteers during the holiday season, and helping kids is something that truly touches my heart, so ‘no’ wasn’t even an option for me.
On the day of the event, my son and I arrived early and quickly established a production line to prepare sandwiches, snacks, chips, fruit, and vegetables—all stuffed into 50 paper lunch bags. Then, we set up the tent and tables and waited for the guests to arrive. We were pleased to see that the event also included a local ice cream vendor, who donated his time and ice cream to put a smile on every face!
That hazy, hot, humid day did not discourage families to come and have a great lunch and share in the community experience. One of the most rewarding moments was to hear a little boy, presumably kindergarten age, scream “Thank you for lunch!” and leave with a full belly and a big smile. He was so happy! It was such a wonderful and rewarding day for all of those involved.
This event was coordinated and organized by community moms who wanted to give back. Special credit goes to John’s Dream Ice Cream. John’s Dream is owned by a Mansfield family whose special needs son had a dream of selling ice cream. Now, that dream is a reality. John and his dad Ed showed up with a cart full of ice cream, an umbrella promising shade, and the ever-recognizable ice-cream-truck music playing from their speakers. They were prepared to serve up some of the most flavorful ice cream pops—a welcome treat on that hot day! John’s Dream is sponsored by New England Ice Cream, and his company benefits the Epilepsy Foundation of New England.
As a leader within Hawkins Point, I want to personally remind my colleagues to take advantage of Team Hawkins Point, a formal program through which we commit our efforts to giving back to the community. Hawkins Point encourages colleagues to enhance their communities by providing the benefit of paid time off to volunteer, also referred to as Volunteer Time Off (VTO). This allows colleagues like me to use VTO to contribute time and talent to recognized charities, causes, and not-for-profit organizations that make a positive difference in deepening community connections. Our company’s goal is to offer a variety of ways to engage in philanthropic efforts, much like I did on this beautiful day.
For more information on the West Side Benevolent Circle of Mansfield or the Summer Lunch in the Park program, follow the links below.