FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Dec. 2, 2021) – Throughout the 2021 season, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation will recognize 17 local volunteers with the "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award." The honorees will be celebrated for going above and beyond to support nonprofit organizations in our New England communities.
As part of this recognition, the foundation will present a $5,000 donation to the nonprofit organization represented by each honoree. The Patriots Difference Makers will participate in a special year-end celebration and receive a pair of tickets to attend the Patriots final regular season home game on Jan. 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"We are excited to once again recognize local volunteers with our Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award," said Josh Kraft, president, New England Patriots Foundation. "Each of these honorees has their own unique story of community service and we are proud to shine a light on the tremendous work they are doing. We would like to thank all of this year's Patriots Difference Makers for helping to build stronger New England communities."
Tony Abreu from Fall River, Mass. was selected as a 2021 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for his commitment to Angels Anonymous. As part of this recognition, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation will be making a $5,000 donation to support the nonprofit.
Angels Anonymous strives to improve the quality of life for all those living in the city of Fall River and in surrounding communities. This service includes but is not limited to a monthly food pantry, neighborhood-cleanups, community restoration projects, charitable drives, holiday assistance, LGBTQ events and more. They are committed to serving all patrons in need with dignity, respect and inclusiveness.
Tony is a founding member of the nonprofit and has served as a board member since day one. Utilizing his professional skills as a chef, he created the mobile food pantry. They started small, distributing food at local parks for those in need. Two years later, Tony was able to secure a permanent location and became a member agency of the Greater Boston Food Bank.
With the help of the food bank and other donors, the Angels Anonymous food pantry now serves 600 families each month. During the pandemic, the pantries doors stayed open and Tony facilitated contactless pickups. In November, the pantry provided 500 Thanksgiving meals to local families. Thanks to Tony's leadership, the pantry has distributed 500,000 pounds of food and supplies to the Southcoast region.
"I would like to thank the Kraft family and the New England Patriot Foundation for choosing me as a recipient of such an amazing award," said Tony. "I'm honored to be recognized. I'm only able to do this work with the support of the Angels Anonymous board of directors, our volunteers, and donors. I believe that one must not just live in a community and take from it what one needs but, must give back to the community in order for the community to grow and flourish."
Tony was also very involved with the creation of "Miracle on Weaver Street," a free holiday event benefiting 300 local families. He has dedicated thousands of hours to Angels Anonymous, helping to serve the Fall River community and beyond.
"Hunger is a huge problem in New England and we must all work together towards ending any food insecurities and putting an end to hungry bellies," said Tony. "The goal of any good food pantry is to be put out of business and win the war on hunger."
The Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award is part of the foundation's Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, designed to educate fans about the need for volunteering, highlight deserving volunteers from across the region and inspire Patriots fans to become lifelong volunteers.
This marks the 11th season that the Kraft family and the Patriots Foundation has presented their Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award to volunteers from all across New England. Since its inception, 150 individuals have received this award and more than $675,000 has been donated to local nonprofit organizations.
To learn more about the program or to nominate a volunteer for the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award, visit www.patriots.com/community.