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    The Referral Connection holds ‘Food for Friends’ drive

    Joe Babcock, president of Referral Connection, and Debbie Jones, manager of client services for the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry, are teaming up for the Food for Friends drive.
    Joe Babcock, president of Referral Connection, and Debbie Jones, manager of client services for the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry, are teaming up for the Food for Friends drive.

    FIGHTING HUNGER: The Referral Connection, a Wakefield chapter of Business Network International,  is supporting the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry this holiday season with its second annual Food for Friends drive.

    Through the drive, the Referral Connection provides the pantry with at least $500 in food donations by chapter members, plus a $100 cash contribution.

    Referral Connection members are also contacting clients, associates, friends, and family, encouraging them to support the food pantry.


    “The Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry provides an important service to the community,” said Joe Babcock, president of the Referral Connection. “We are a group of small businesses in and around Wakefield, and we want to support their work any way we can. In addition to our individual donations, we’re trying to spread the word to others in the area.”

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    “We really appreciate the generous donation from the Referral Connection and Business Network International,” said Maureen Miller, operations director of the food pantry. “Our community pantry works because of the terrific support we have from local businesses and organizations in the area. It’s this type of team effort that enables us to help our neighbors in need.”

    The volunteer-run pantry, which is funded entirely through donations, provides food for needy families and individuals in Wakefield. Each month, approximately 350 households are served.

    The pantry is on the lower level of the Americal Civic Center, 467 Main St., and accepts non-perishable food donations in the drop-off box there.

    For a list of preferred food items and additional information visit


    For more information about the Referral Connection and Business Network International, contact Babcock at 781-861-8750, ext. 50354, or, or visit

    A HEALING APP: Marissa Eisen, a third-grader at Cohen Hillel Academy  in Marblehead, is one of 12 grand-prize winners from around the United States in the Voices and Visions program.

    Children ages 7 to 12 from across the country were invited to create a drawing, painting, or collage expressing their idea of tikkun olam, a Hebrew phrase that means repairing the world.

    Eisen, 8, of Salem, created a poster with a Fight Famine app.

    “People who connect to this app will find ways to stop world hunger,” Eisen said. “When we repair the world, we also connect to others.”


    The contest was sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation  in conjunction with the PJ Library  program.

    PJ Library is a free Jewish book and CD-of-the-month club for children ages 6 months to 8 years. It sends about 100,000 books monthly to Jewish children in 185 communities in North America.

    Free subscriptions to PJ Library for Jewish children in the community are made possible with funding from the Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation  and Cohen Hillel Academy, and by a grant from the Jewish Federation of the North Shore.

    For more information about PJ Library or to register, contact Phyllis Osher  at 978-740-4404 or e-mail  

    WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Kevin F. Smith, president and CEO of Winchester Hospital, has been named president of the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals.  The nonprofit’s primary focus is advocacy for the advancement of community medicine and community hospitals. The council consists of 23 community hospitals from throughout the state that collectively handle more than 25 percent of acute care hospital admissions. . . . The Women of Northern Essex Community College  recently held a fashion show at the Lanam Club in Andover featuring the fashions of Cristina’s and Dino International Furs, both of Andover. About $3,400 was raised to benefit the Women of NECC Scholarships.  

    Items can be sent to