Massachusetts luncheon honors supporters

by Hugo Bravo

The Salvation Army in Massachusetts hosted its Annual Holiday Luncheon in December, honoring local supporters of the Army’s mission and the anniversary of a beloved Army summer camp.

Boston 25 Morning News anchor and luncheon host Elizabeth Hopkins welcomed the guests and thanked the Boston advisory board and annual luncheon committee for their hard work in planning and organizing the event. She also recognized the work of the present organizations and companies that support the Army’s efforts in the community.

“There is so much that The Salvation Army could not do if there wasn’t a real sense of corporate responsibility and giving back from you,” said Hopkins.

The luncheon recognized the 100th year of Camp Wonderland giving children a positive camp experience that they might not otherwise be able to afford. A video was shown with Wonderland staff and families sharing their thoughts and memories of Wonderland.

“I love the fact that my kids are remembered from their first time here,” one parent said.

“I was the third generation coming to Camp Wonderland as a child,” said Jen Forster, camp director at Wonderland. “I was so excited when I had kids and knew that they were old enough to be able to come to camp. My two oldest started at camp right after first grade. I felt a sense of safety and security knowing they were coming to a place that I trusted.”

The Al MacLeod Outstanding Volunteer Award was presented to renowned fashion icon, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Yolanda Cellucci. A longtime supporter of The Salvation Army, Cellucci first became familiar with the Army 60 years ago.

“There’s no charity in Massachusetts that hasn’t benefited from Yolanda’s time and talents,” said Hopkins. “With The Salvation Army, she helps provide thousands of kids with backpacks for school, feeds hungry families on Thanksgiving, and makes sure that there are gifts to unwrap on Christmas.”

“The red kettle is not just at Christmas, it’s all year round. It’s feeding families in the spring, sending children to camp in the summer, and serving veterans in the fall,” said Cellucci. “This is why we have to raise more for the Army now than ever before.”

She added, “As Dolly Parton, another supporter of The Salvation Army, said, you can be rich in spirit and love when you give. Do something good every day by volunteering yourself. Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget to live. And if you see someone without a smile, just give them yours.”

The Others Award was presented to MFS Investment Management, a supporter of The Salvation Army’s Massachusetts Division for over two decades. Michelle Thompson-Dolberry, chief diversity and inclusion officer at MFS, accepted the award on behalf of the company. The timing of the award was significant to MFS; like Camp Wonderland, the company was also celebrating its 100-year anniversary.

“It’s fitting that both us and the Army are celebrating monumental achievements,” said Thompson-Dolberry. “A century of service and meeting the needs of those who meet us—we both view this commitment to serving others, not as a single moment or as individual acts, but as a long-term responsibility.

“I can assure you all that through the work we’ve done with The Salvation Army, we’ve gotten back as much as we’ve given to those who needed our help. There’s so much uncertainty in the world right now. So what ‘help’ means might change as our world evolves. But what won’t change is that we will both be there together. Hopefully, for a century or two more to come.”