Local Heroes Honored


The North Shore United Way will honor several community heroes and two employee campaign teams at its annual ‘Evening of Appreciation’ on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 from 6-8pm at Cruiseport Gloucester.

Ms. Julie LaFontaine, Executive Director of The Open Door / Cape Ann Food Pantry, will be recognized as the 2009 Unsung Hero for the work she has done to alleviate hunger in the Cape Ann community with innovative new programs and for her generosity in sharing her ideas and experiences with smaller food pantries in the region. Margo Casey, Executive Director of the North Shore United Way, explained ‘Julie has had such a positive impact on the lives of families in need on Cape Ann. She doesn’t look at her mission as just providing food; she provides a community where people feel valued and respected, and she has succeeded in incorporating nutrition and choices into each of her programs.’

Mr. Binkley C. Shorts will be honored as the recipient of the Joseph R. Nardone Award for Commitment to Community. ‘Through his dedication, generosity, leadership and many years of service to the North Shore United Way, Binkley has been instrumental in helping us achieve our goal of improving lives on the North Shore. We are very appreciative of his contributions and his steady guidance and thoughtful input,’ said Casey.

The Mary K. Connors Award is given each year to the employee teams that go above and beyond in their giving and support of the NSUW. This year, the award, which is named after a longtime NSUW volunteer, will be given to the employees of Beverly National Bank and Gorton’s of Gloucester. Each team increased both the percentage of employees participating and their total contributions to the campaign. ‘The spirit of giving is alive and well at Beverly National Bank and Gorton’s,’ said Casey, ‘and it’s even more significant that the employees increased their giving in these challenging economic times. We are honored that they recognized the value we provide and chose to support us in such strong numbers.’

A special NSUW recognition this year goes to the 50 volunteers who make up the Community Impact Allocation Teams. These individuals spend countless hours visiting agencies, asking probing questions about services and results, reviewing financial statements and ultimately making recommendations to the NSUW Board about funding and grants. Casey said, ‘They are the heart and soul of our efforts. We strive to insure that the money we raise is used effectively and supports programs that have demonstrated success or great potential. This scrutiny allows us to assure donors that their gifts will be allocated to the right areas and will truly make a difference in the lives of their neighbors.’

The Evening of Appreciation is open to the public. Ticket price is $10 per person and guests may RSVP to Barbara at bkuszmar@nsuw.org.

For more information about the North Shore United Way, contact Margo Casey at 978.922.3966 or visit www.nsuw.org.