FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Oct. 12, 2018) - Eight years ago, the Kraft family and Patriots Foundation introduced Celebrate Volunteerism, a season-long initiative focused on recognizing community volunteers and promoting the importance of giving back to the community through service.
Throughout the 2018 season, the foundation will continue its Celebrate Volunteerism initiative by teaming with nonprofit organizations to educate fans about the need for volunteering, highlighting deserving volunteers from across the region and seeking to inspire Patriots fans to become lifelong volunteers. The foundation will present a weekly "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week" award, which recognizes deserving volunteers who go above and beyond to support their New England communities.
"We originally started the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative as a tribute to my sweetheart, Myra," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "Over the past eight years, it has become the heart and soul of the Patriots Foundation, just like Myra was. We enjoy shining the light on local volunteers that are committed to improving the lives of children and families across the region and we hope that this inspires our fans to get more involved in their communities."
Serge Wechseler from Warwick, R.I. was selected as this week's Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for his commitment to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.
Chef Serge has more than 45 years of experience in the food service industry. Fifteen years ago, while he was the Executive Chef of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick, he began his involvement with the Rhode Island Food Bank's Community Kitchen job training program.
Chef Serge offered the Crowne Plaza kitchen as an on-the-job training internship site for students in the Community Kitchen program. Students learned valuable kitchen and employment skills under his tutelage and he was personally responsible for hiring at least 20 students after they completed their training.
"I really thank the Kraft family for the honor and recognition for my volunteer work at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank," said Serge. "I was ecstatic when I received the news. It is so wonderful to hear that my work over the years has been appreciated. I have faithfully followed and supported the Patriots for the past two decades. They are a true example of serving the community and they motivated me to do the same."
Five years ago, he retired from the Crowne Plaza Hotel and expanded his volunteer efforts in the Community Kitchen to teach knife skills and knife cuts. Since then, his role has continued to grow. A chef by nature, Serge couldn't stay out of the kitchen and wanted to share his knowledge with others. He now provides cooking demonstrations of sauces, meats, desserts and more to his students. He also conducts life skills classes to teach employer expectations, professional attitude and demeanor to low-income adults that are looking to improve their lives.
"When you share your knowledge, skills and time, it will always makes a positive difference in the life of the less fortunate," said Serge. "As human beings, it is our duty to help and support each other. It's never too early or too late to volunteer. It's just a matter of making the time and commitment to it."
Fifteen individuals will be named Patriots Difference Makers throughout the season. The outstanding volunteers will be recognized on the Patriots website and in print materials, including Patriots Football Weekly and Patriots GameDay magazine. They will also be honored during a special ceremony at the Patriots final regular season home game against the New York Jets on Sunday, December 30.
Fans are encouraged to nominate a local volunteer for the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week award by visiting www.patriots.com/community.