Bread for Life is proud to name Dave Donnelly the volunteer of the month.
Dave sits on Bread for Life’s board of directors as the vice chairperson and has been with the organization, helping the Southington community, for almost a decade.
What brought you to Bread for Life?
The prior chairperson (Bill McDougall) was a longtime advocate for Bread for Life and encouraged me to join. I said, ‘when I retire Bill, I will,’ and nine and a half years ago, that’s what happened. I served as the treasurer for four years and have been vice chair for about three years. Two years ago, I started driving meals to the home bound as well.
What goes in to delivering meals to the community?
Each day at about 10:30 A.M., the drivers for the day arrive to help pack the meals which our chef and a number of volunteers prepare. We help the team to package the meals, load them into the van and then make forty or more stops around Southington, delivering lunch and dinner to anyone who has made contact with Bread for Life looking for assistance. Some people want you to come in and talk. It’s a real eye-opener. But just seeing a smile on somebody’s face and sensing their gratitude makes it all worthwhile.
Favorite Bread for Life memory?
One would be on St. Patrick’s Day, just prior to our groundbreaking. A few of us went to the Capitol for the state bonding commission meeting and we posed for photographs with then-Governor [Dannel] Malloy and House Speaker [Joe] Aresimowicz after funding was announced. We heard, ‘$725,000 awarded to Bread For Life in Southington,’ and we were thrilled. Many people lent their time and talents to that effort. Tony Denorfia – a longtime Bread for Life supporter – was our general contractor. I was very fortunate to work side by side with Tony for several months making the many mundane decisions from the hole in the ground to the shingles on the roof. On ribbon cutting day, probably two decades after the original preliminary building discussions began, I and everyone else involved felt grateful for what had been accomplished and truly overjoyed for our community.
Another pretty awesome memory for me happened because of an idea for giving back offered by the Roger’s family, longtime owners of Roger’s Orchard and staunch Southington supporters. They wanted us to hold a pancake breakfast on the top of their orchard. It was going to be a benefit for Bread for Life and we said, ‘absolutely we’ll do it’. We went up there at 7 a.m. on a Saturday and Mike Baker and I made pancakes for all who came. As the sun rose, a cluster of hot air balloons from the Plainville hot air balloon festival filled the sky over all of Southington. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.
Advice to those thinking about volunteering?
Southington is an unbelievable town because everybody gives and supports good causes. Anybody thinking about volunteering for Bread for Life, I would suggest that you’re going to get a rewarding feeling nine out of ten days that you volunteer. If you want to give back, set an example for your kids or do things with your kids, No matter what you do, you’re going to see people that are really thankful and it’s going to make you feel good. Everybody is going to personally, long remember what you did, why you did it and how it made people feel.