MADRID, N.Y., Oct. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, AARP New York named Robin McNamara, of Madrid, NY as the recipient of the 2015 New York AARP Andrus Award for Community Service. The Andrus Award, named after AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus, is AARP's most prestigious and visible volunteer award for community service.
As part of her selection as the Andrus Award recipient, McNamara, who volunteers for New Beginnings Food Outreach and Clothing, Inc., will receive $3,000 to donate to the charity of her choice. McNamara has decided to donate the money to New Beginnings to fund scholarships for high school students.
The award and $3,000 check were presented to McNamara today by AARP New York State President Leo Asen at a ceremony held at New Beginnings.
AARP selected McNamara for her extraordinary service to the community through her work at New Beginnings, a non-profit which provides families and seniors in the rural upstate New York community of Madrid, with clothing, household items, and food through its thrift store and food pantry. McNamara also serves on the New Beginnings board, where she helps to oversee the donation of money made at the Thrift Store to community projects and residents in need.
"The founders and all the faithful volunteers of New Beginnings Clothing and Food Outreach, Inc., the organization that I serve, are deserving of this award and our mission will be blessed by the monetary gift that comes with it," said McNamara.
"I am proud to represent New Beginnings in my community, proud to serve with our faithful volunteers," continued McNamara. "It is a blessing to receive donations of food and clothing from people in different stages of their lives – children grown, spouses passed, weight lost, retirement begun – to celebrate or mourn with them. It is an equal blessing to serve our neighbors in need – those with limited resources, victims of flood or fire, families who have come upon hard times – to share their journey with them."
McNamara is a long-time volunteer at New Beginnings, and initially got involved when she shopped there for her family. She eventually became a dedicated volunteer and was later asked to serve on the board of the organization to help raise money for a new building to house the thrift store and pantry. At the time, it was housed in an old barn that was small, poorly lit, drafty, and damp, which often resulted in mold growing on donated items. It was also not accessible to disabled persons and difficult for seniors to navigate.
McNamara helped with the fund-raising drive for the new building, leading to a new home for New Beginnings which is larger, safer and cleaner. The new facility better serves the community and it provides a more comfortable environment for the many volunteers who are instrumental to the organization.
McNamara was selected from a pool of nominees from across New York State based on the criteria of their ability to enhance the lives of AARP members and prospective members, improve the community in or for which the work was performed, and inspire others to volunteer.
"This award acts as a symbol to the public that we can all work together for positive social change, and Robin truly represents this," said Leo Asen, State President for AARP in New York. "AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve."
AARP has 2.5 million members in New York State. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a bilingual news source. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.