Eileen Dern, director of community services at MelroseWakefield Healthcare, was named a 2019 ABCD Community Heroes by Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), an anti-poverty, community development and human services organization.
Dern was one of 23 local community leaders honored by ABCD as “every day, extraordinary volunteers who share their skills, time and compassion to light the way for Greater Boston’s most vulnerable children, youth, adults, and families.”
Dern was recognized for dedicating “her entire adult life to community-based nursing, serving young families, elders, adults and children.” Dern and her team provide direct services to thousands of families in the north suburban Boston communities.
“The close partnership ABCD shares with Eileen and her wonderfully devoted team at MelroseWakefield Healthcare, has resulted in numerous positive outcomes, including the annual Christmas Tree Distribution, which directly benefits nearly 100 families every year. Eileen and her team have also assisted ABCD families in emergency situations, such as providing food and gift cards to households in crisis,” said ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew. “We couldn’t be more proud and grateful for the great work that Eileen continues to do for our communities.”
The Community Services team also founded both the Mothers Helping Mothers Clothing Closet, which provides children’s clothing and nursery items to families, and the free Mobile Food Market in Malden, which provides food, health information and screening to hundreds of households each month.
The Mobile Food Market was named one of only ten hospital programs to receive the 2016 Hospital Charitable Services Award, a national program sponsored by Atlanta-based Jackson Healthcare.The award is presented to hospital-sponsored community health programs for their innovative approaches to impacting the lives in local communities around the nation.
To address higher than state average food insecurity rates, the farmers-market style distribution offers healthy grocery options, which are provided by the Greater Boston Food Bank to approximately 600 diverse, low-income families (nearly 3,000 individuals) each month. MelroseWakefield Healthcare, through its North Suburban Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program, collaborates with the Zonta Club of Malden and the cities of Malden and Medford to provide the monthly mobile food market in Malden.