Dustin Wright: This is what makes our community special
From a young age, volunteering has always been important to me. Most importantly, I have a brother who suffered a severe brain injury at a young age from a drunk driver and an aunt who is schizophrenic; both of which gave me a heightened awareness of those in need.
My brother and/or aunt could easily have needed services like those provided by Hospitality House had we not had the family resources. While in Maine, I spent years at the local soup kitchens, nursing homes, and even worked with animal rescue while in Florida, doing my part to assist those unable to care for themselves.
All communities have the need for volunteer work at any given time; however, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has presented more challenges than usual. These challenges include stricter safety precautions which limit the number of volunteers able to assist. Also, a limited amount of donated resources due to the overwhelming need. The Oaks Clubhouse in Lake Wildwood already donated what little perishables we had last month. The food we donated cost our operation very little, but it was a huge gain for Hospitality House.
With all this said, Hospitality House was in desperate need of meal prep for the less fortunate, especially on the weekends. The next step was inevitable — I could not sit on the sidelines anymore and I decided to partner with Hospitality House.
With the help of The Oaks chef Chad Decosse, and event manager Andi Miller, we will prepare lunches and dinners on the weekends. I am currently working hard to gain donations from our leading vendors. In the meantime, we are utilizing food donated from the surrounding community and businesses.
Lake Wildwood residents Kim and Steve Smith, owners of Grocery Outlet located in Grass Valley, have signed on for weekly donations and Lake Wildwood resident Stephanie Lynn, owner of Java Dream (soon to be located right here in Penn Valley) has also offered to her assistance with donations.
BriarPatch generously donated pounds upon pounds of chicken and from the East Coast I connected with one of my friends from my home state of Maine, Mark Murrell. Mark is the owner of “Get Maine Lobster” and has donated gallons of traditional Maine lobster bisque.
Lake Wildwood residents Ashley Quadros and Chris Fagan, both of whom work at Hospitality House, have coordinated with Lake Wildwood resident John Hayens and Rick Kahil to volunteer their time to drive our meals to the shelters.
I cannot express how full my heart feels to see our neighbors, as well as our surrounding community step up to the plate during this time. This is what makes our community special — those among us willing to offer time, talent, and resources for the less fortunate. The team at the Oaks Clubhouse are proud to be a part of this.
Dustin Wright is the director of food and beverage at The Oaks Clubhouse in Lake Wildwood.
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