Local Heroes

March 24, 2010

SSCAC, Inc. announces Local Heroes

Nominees receives citations for outstanding work in their communities; Droege receives posthumous honor.

PLYMOUTH – As part of the South Shore Community Action Council, Inc. 16th Annual Local Heroes Award Night, sponsored by Rockland Trust Co. and other local businesses, individuals who made an outstanding contribution to the community received citations from State Senators Therese Murray, Thomas Kennedy and Robert Hedlund, and State Representatives Vinny DeMacedo, Thomas Calter, James Cantwell and Daniel Webster.

Aileen Droege Honor

At the Awards Dinner, Senate President Therese Murray remembered community activist and volunteer Aileen Droege, who died last January, for her tireless work in the area of food insecurity and hunger. Senator Murray announced that, in her honor, the South Shore Community Action Council voted to create the Aileen Droege Center for Nutrition, to be housed in the agency’s Greater Plymouth Food Warehouse.

The following are the South Shore Community Action Council’s 2010 Local Heroes honored at the event:

Bill and Paula Harris.

Both Paula and Bill Harris are active in the community, including serving on many Boards of Directors. Bill is the Board President of Mayflower RSVP and a Business Representative on the South Coastal Workforce Investment Board (SCWIB). Paula is Secretary of the Library Board of Trustees in Duxbury, sits on the Executive Committee as Vice Chair, Economic and Community Development for the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, and is a member (and Immediate Past President) of the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra board. Under Paula’s direction, the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra joined forces with SSCAC’s Greater Plymouth Food Warehouse as part of the national “Orchestras Feeding America” program. An enthusiastic response resulted in a successful Food Drive conducted at the ‘Classical 111 Concert’ at Memorial Hall. The collaboration between the food warehouse and the philharmonic has struck a chord and continues to grow, with food drives scheduled at the upcoming Family and Classical Concerts.

Raymond Burton

Mr. Burton has spent his life working and volunteering in Plymouth and neighboring communities. He has been a member and volunteer for many years with Boy Scouts of America, an EMT instructor & trainer at Plymouth North High School and throughout the region, and a volunteer in the area of religious education. He regularly and generously donates time and treasure to support area veterans. These are just a few examples of how Mr. Burton has devoted his life to helping others.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Volunteers

In conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service, since 2007, South Shore Community Action Council and a team of dedicated volunteers provide free income tax payer assistance by filing tax returns for hundreds of low to moderate income families. That first year, through the efforts of 5 volunteers, our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site met our modest goal of preparing 50 tax returns. Last year, they prepared and electronically filed over 350 tax returns. Several volunteers, including Gibbs Ferris and Denise Tetreault, have been with the program since its inception. Bill Broom, Carolyn Broom and Colleen Silva joined the following year, with Katie Dayie and Paul Dumais coming on board last year. This year, Ann Burnham and Karen Francis have come on board. Overall, this group has logged close to 1,000 hours for training and completion of more than 750 tax returns for low to moderate income families and individuals. As a result of these volunteers’ efforts, in 2009 alone they helped local tax payers realize $500,000 in combined refunds, and saved them an additional $52,500 in tax return preparation fees.

Walmart

South Shore Community Action Council received a $42,500 grant from the Walmart Foundation State Giving Program. One week later, the Plymouth Walmart donated $1,000 of its own to SSCAC. These funds will support the Greater Plymouth Food Warehouse, enabling us to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables to proceed with this season’s Healthy Harvest Program. Healthy Harvest provides 28 not for profit organizations from Hull to Wareham, as well as the food warehouse, direct delivery of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. The goal of Healthy Harvest is to create a system that enables local farmers to continue to work their land and contribute to the local economy, while at the same time alleviate the daily struggles caused by food insecurity and assist people who lack nutritional balance. Accepting this Local Hero Award on behalf of Walmart is Plymouth Walmart store manager Saleem Shaikh.

Anthony J. Fiore

Anthony (A. J.) Fiore, a boy scout from Troop 199 in Halifax, decided to focus his community service work on helping South Shore families become more food secure. He canvassed his neighborhood and collected 219 pounds of food for the Greater Plymouth Food Warehouse. He then recruited younger scouts to help him run an all day food drive on a Sunday in November at the Plymouth Stop & Shop, a steadfast supporter of our food assistance efforts. Thinking strategically, A.J. also convinced the Stop & Shop to offer shoppers the opportunity to buy a paper turkey at the checkout counter, thus adding monetary donations to the day’s proceeds. A.J. and his fellow scouts collected 1,108 lbs. of food – the rough equivalent of 850 meals - for families in need.

Mary Doolan (President) and Sowing Seeds

Sowing Seeds is a non-profit group that works to meet the needs of Marshfield residents. They run a clothing bank of gently used clothes, free for Marshfield residents. They also assist with other necessities such as transportation, home maintenance, household needs, and counseling/social services. Thanks to Mary Doolan’s strong leadership, Sowing Seeds has made great strides over the past year, and plays a critical role in supporting its local community.