My parents taught me the importance of helping others and giving something back to the community, and now I am passing those same lessons on to my children.
Martha grew up in Rhode Island and attended Thomas College in Maine. She works for the Chapter 13 Trustee for the state of Rhode Island as a bankruptcy paralegal and is sad to comment on the large increase in bankruptcies over the past several years. Martha and her husband Greg have been married for 27 years, and they have two sons, Nathan (26) and Bradley (23). Greg is an electrical contractor, and Martha is quick to quip: "Thank goodness the dates for this trip were set well in advance or I'd never be able to drag him away." Greg will join Martha on the cruise.
Martha sings in the Slatersville Congregational Church choir and is very active with her church, where she does most of her volunteering and charitable work. She was instrumental in bringing a national program called "Stop Hunger Now" to the church, and she and other members prepare vast quantities of pre-packaged meals to be sent around the world where it's needed most. In their first year, the church prepared 12,000 meals, which get sent to places like Haiti after the earthquake and the Philippines after its recent hurricane. The church celebrated its 175th anniversary of the building of the sanctuary this year, and they prepared 17,500 meals to honor the event.
These meals are prepared at church right after the sermon, and they are comprised of rice and soy and filled with extra vitamins They are prepared to last for five years, and Stop Hunger Now sends them primarily to schools in third world countries. The goal is not only to meet emergency needs but to make sure children have a healthy and sustainable meal to get them through the school day. Says Martha: "My parents taught our family the importance of service and trying to make life a little better for people less fortunate than ourselves. That lesson took hold, and my family makes volunteering a big part of our lives."
Martha is also involved in numerous other activities like raising money for the Good Neighbor Energy Fund, which is dedicated to keeping the lights and the heat on for people during winter. She also puts her personal expertise to good use and knits prayer shawls through the church and distributes them to people going through rough times. Finally, Martha has personally been the staff that her dear friend Ann has leaned upon for the past seven years after suffering a stroke that left her with left side paralysis. Martha is her primary source of support and comfort. She brings Ann to church every Sunday, includes Ann in family functions, and is right there on the spot whenever Ann needs her.