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Helping Harvest volunteer honored with Jefferson Award

John Hudspath of Ravena was honored in April for his long-time service at Helping Harvest with a Jefferson Award, a local and national program that highlights service to others.

Volunteer John Hudspath has been honored for his service to Helping Harvest with a Jefferson Award.
John Hudspath has been honored for his volunteerism at Helping Harvest with a Jefferson Award. Photo by Ann Kielbasa.

Helping Harvest is a low-cost grocery store program for struggling families located in Faith Plaza in Ravena.

"Volunteers are the backbone of Helping Harvest and I don't know what we would do without John," said Rebecca Flach, executive director of Hope Full Life Center, the Ravena-based charity that oversees the Helping Harvest program. Flach

nominated Hudspath for the honor.

"John doesn't care about awards, but I want to share with everyone what a selfless, hard-working, compassionate person he is," Flach said.

Hudspath and six other volunteers from around the Capital Region were selected from a field of more than 40 nominees as Jefferson Award Medalists. Here is Hudspath's nomination:

"John is the lifeblood of our small charity, which runs a low-cost grocery store program for struggling people in Ravena named Helping Harvest. He is the first one to arrive every day and the last to leave. I've found him underneath our commercial truck making repairs in bitterly cold weather, shoveling 3' of snow to clear our sidewalk, managing rodent control, sorting through spoiled salvage foods and countless other tasks most would walk away from.

Lately, due to COVID and other volunteer emergencies, John has stepped up to "checkout" our shoppers. I know he hates running the cash register, but he does it anyway because he knows how much our low-income shoppers count on us for affordable, nutritious food.

Not only does John take on every task, no matter how dirty or disagreeable, with a smile, he's a mentor to many people. Some of our volunteers come from hard backgrounds of addiction, poverty and mental illness. John patiently works with them, eats lunch with them and makes sure they have a good experience at Helping Harvest.

I've watched him pay for other people's groceries and drive the homeless to the Capital City Rescue Mission. John is a true servant leader with an enormous heart for people and his community."

The Jefferson Award has a rich history. In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft Jr. and public servant Sam Beard created the American Institute for Public Service and its Jefferson Award, a Nobel Prize for community and public service. Now run by a not-for-profit, Multiplying Good, local nominations from across the country culminate in a national Jefferson Award recipient. Learn more here.

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