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AAA Summer Food Drive Revs Up in July

Thanks to member support, AAA has donated thousands of items to food banks and pantries in the community.

Packing boxes at food bank

AAA employees at Island Harvest Food Bank, from left, Carole Grinthal, Maureen Seman and Rosetta Varuola.

AAA Northeast will kick off its third annual summer food drive Tuesday, July 6. The event runs through July 28 in every branch across the territory. The items collected will be donated to an organization in a local AAA community.

“We held our first summer food drive in 2019 to help our communities at a time of year when donations to food banks and pantries often wane. Food insecurity is a year-round issue, and we wanted to highlight that,” said Rick Del Nero, vice president of branch operations. “Our employees and members have shown such tremendous support in previous years that we decided to make this an annual event. This year, the economic impact of the pandemic is still affecting too many of our neighbors, so we are hoping to all of our bins are overflowing.”

Even at the height of the pandemic, AAA members came out to support last year’s summer drive, and the club was able to donate more than 5,500 items to community organizations. Members also gave generously to the spring AAA community food drive.

​​​​​​​The economic fallout of the pandemic continues, and those most impacted were already teetering on the brink of food insecurity, according to Feeding America, a national network of food banks, pantries and programs. For more information and updates, join our Facebook event or visit AAA.com/AAACares.

More AAA Community Involvement

Employees across the club were busy in their communities throughout June. Here are just a few of their charitable activities.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Donations

Our employee-led DEI charitable giving committee supported Juneteenth and Pride Month with donations to organizations making a difference in the AAA community.

It donated to Juneteenth RI, an organization that hosts an annual celebration at Roger Williams Park in Providence to commemorate June 19, 1865, the day every slave in the U.S. was finally emancipated.

Insurance agent Marion John followed up the donation with a visit to the event, which featured artists, vendors, performers, speakers and information booths. The organization also awards educational scholarships. “I was really excited to go to my very first Juneteenth event,” Marion said. “I think the Juneteenth RI celebration was a great gesture of acknowledgment for Black people and people of color.”​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​This year, Juneteenth became an official federal holiday when President Joe Biden signed it into law just days before. The U.S. House and Senate passed the bill with bipartisan support.

For Pride Month, it donated to BAGLY, the Boston Alliance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Youth, a social support organization and safe space where LGBTQ children can be themselves and build a strong social justice community. It also funded PFLAG of Greater Boston, an advocate organization LGBTQ people that aims to change attitudes, so everyone can live in a safe and inclusive society.

Farmers for the Day

AAA employees with rakes and hoes.

From left, Andrew Bifulco, Mark Kulewicz, Andrew Rosen, Patrick Reid, Leena Rampersad-Clarke, Ding Zhou and Katia Basquiat.

AAA employees from the Garden City, N.Y., area spent June 18 raking, weeding and planting at Healthy Harvest Farm in Brentwood, N.Y., operated by Island Harvest Food Bank for Long Island. The land is used for educational programs and to supplement Island Harvest supplies of food for those in need.

The Garden City, N.Y., charitable team has been involved with various Island Harvest programs, including mobile markets for veterans and seniors and warehouse packing. Karen Blackburn, public affairs specialist, delivered meals for the organization during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blood Drives

AAA community blood drives sponsored by AAA branches in Auburn, Fairhaven, Franklin, Somerset and Worcester, Mass.; as well as East Providence and Middletown, R.I., collected 76 units of blood, enough to help 228 patients, said Maggie McMenemy, branch manager in Webster.

Cycling Safety

Group of attendees at bike event.

Ron Esposito, public affairs associate in Wayne, N.J., recently held a program to teach children cycling safety practices and the rules of the road for two-wheel vehicles.

Connecticut Against Childhood Cancer

Our employee-led charitable giving committee in Connecticut recently donated to the Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer, which supports families in the AAA community whose children are undergoing cancer treatments at Yale New Haven Health’s Smilow Cancer Hospital. Connecticut employees have been actively involved with the Tommy Fund for more than 25 years, according to Patrick Sullivan, managing director of insurance sales. “It has become a mainstay of helping and serving the community,” he said.

Mental Health Help in Western Massachusetts

Finally, our Pioneer Valley charitable giving committee donated to the Mental Health Association. The organization promotes independence, community engagement, wellness and recovery by providing services and housing for people in substance-use recovery and with developmental disabilities or brain injuries. The donation is earmarked for the GRIT Ridgewood Residential Rehabilitation Services, which helps those who struggle with both addiction and mental health.

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