Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Michelle Wu appeared together Thursday morning at the Greater Boston Food Bank to tout the nonprofit’s annual holiday meal drive and also to mark the group’s 40-year anniversary.
Baker presented Catherine D’Amato, the food bank’s president and CEO, with an official state citation commending the work of the nonprofit, which expects to donate some 23 million meals to families this holiday season.
“Since you’ve been in business for 40 years,” Baker said as he prepared to present the plaque, “I really thought it was time they got a citation from the governor’s office congratulating them on their 40th anniversary and all the work that you’ve done for so many here in Greater Boston and throughout the region.”
Baker stressed that while the holiday season’s a time when many people come together to help those in need, the work of the food bank is year-round.
“This organization and its partners are out there doing the work every single day on behalf of the people of Massachusetts,” Baker said.
Wu also praised the food bank and its dedicated staff and volunteers.
“We continue to lift up your example and all that you have been doing long before the pandemic and certainly throughout [to support] food access, nutrition, health. And the economic opportunities that that represents for our residents is going to be critical to the agenda for the city of Boston,” Wu said.
D’Amato spoke highly of her staff during the briefing and thanked community partners including Stop & Shop and the Biogen Foundation.
“Our doors never closed” during the pandemic, D’Amato said. “They never, ever closed. There were sacrifices around vacation times and seeing families. All of these individuals said ‘we will put our health forward, in order to protect others.’ And we’re very grateful to all of them.”
A few of D’Amato’s longtime employees spoke to reporters as well, including Kelly Sajous, the food bank’s product recovery coordinator who manages thousands of volunteers each year.
“I take pride in supporting my team, and thousands of volunteers that come to sort food,” said Sajous, a 25-year employee. “When COVID hit, the warehouse needed more help. So I step up and help out wherever I can. That’s what we all do. Whatever we can to support the mission.”