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The Spirit of Appreciation Trickles Down to Others

Apr 4, 2023 | Newsletter

Every car that approaches the pick-up line at the Mobile Food Pantry in Watkins Glen gets the same warm greeting – a wave, a smile, and a thank you.

The greeter is Watkins Glen Community Center site coordinator Beverly Mello. And that greeting fits Bev to a T. From her small army of volunteers to the clients she cheerfully serves, to Bev, everyone is family.

“I think it’s our attitude,” Bev says. “You have to show your appreciation. We try to make it a family. We have a luau every year and a Christmas party.”

That attitude does not go unnoticed by the 30 to 40 volunteers who turn up monthly, no matter the weather, to help serve their community and to work with Bev and her husband, Dominic.

“We have fun doing this,” says Lou Cicconi, who regularly volunteers along with his wife, Pam. “It’s a great group of people. It makes it easier to come when you know you’re going to have a good time. It’s nice giving back to the community. Bev and Dominic are sweethearts.”

Pam Cicconi agrees. “Bev always asks, are you okay, are you going to be here? She’s just so genuine.”

That caring comes from an early age and a difficult upbringing, says Bev, who grew up as one of 17 kids.

“We had no electricity, no running water,” she says. “We didn’t have this kind of help. That’s one of the reasons I do this.”

What she did have was a keen sense for helping others, which Bev credits for her generous spirit.

“We lived on a farm and my dad was a butcher, so we had meat,” she says. “And my mother and father would store turnips and potatoes. Friends would come and they’d always tell us to go get some for them.

For volunteer Mary Miller, it’s all about helping others.

“It’s giving back to the community,” she says. “The clients are so very appreciative and that’s the biggest reason why I continue to do this … their gratitude and appreciation.”