If I can make a small difference, it is worth doing. People going hungry or going without basic necessities is just wrong, and I was in a position to help.
Amy Abbatiello has three daughters, Kaylie (16), Sophia (8) and Natalie (6). When the girls started school, Amy wanted to be involved in their school community. That simple desire to be involved evolved into a long-term commitment to help the families of Castle Creek Elementary in Orlando, Florida.
"If I can make a small difference, it is worth doing," said Amy. "I saw a storage closet that wasn't being used and decided to turn it into a food pantry for families at the school. People going hungry or going without basic necessities is just wrong, and I was in a position to help."
Amy found a partner in the Second Harvest Foodbank. Once a week, Amy picks up a weekly food order from the foodbank, drives it to Castle Creek Elementary and loads up the school's food pantry. On Thursdays, families are welcome to stop in to pick up whatever food they need.
"It's really important for me to feel like I am not giving them food. I let them chose what they want and take as much time as they need. I stay out of the way until they are finished, unless they ask for help," Amy said. "I enjoy the interaction, and doing work that makes a difference in someone's life."
Amy's one-woman show serves up to 30 families each week. Her commitment to volunteering is evidenced by the fact that Amy still makes the time to run the program, week in and week out, even though her family moved out of the district and her daughters now attend a different school.
Amy grew up in Kirkwood, New York where she met her husband Tony, who is a Marine. After moving to North Carolina and Virginia, the family finally settled in Orlando. In their spare time they love hanging at the pool or beach. Amy is an avid reader, baker, and quilter. Tony, who was deployed to Iraq in 2007, now works for Lockheed Martin. He will be joining her on the cruise.
Watch this inspiring video about Amy's volunteer efforts and commitment to the families of Orange County Public Schools.