September Volunteer Spotlight: Maria Wilson-Portuondo

Maria Wilson-Portuondo joined the Newton Food Pantry in 2010, initially assisting with restocking shelves at the Waban Library location. In 2012, Maria joined a planning task force, formed with the aim of ensuring that the NFP was meeting the needs of the community, and in 2013, she joined the NFP Board as Clerk, a position she held until this year. She also began serving as Wednesday Morning Shift Coordinator, supervising the tasks needed to ensure that the shelves were stocked for Wednesday afternoon client shopping. While the NFP is operating as a pre-bagged model vs a choice pantry during Covid-19, Maria is assisting us by doing bulk deliveries.

Maria has learned that there is no “typical” client at the NFP, because a person’s life can change suddenly, and he/she can go from being an independent, financially-stable person to needing the support that the pantry provides. Changing life circumstances, such as the loss of a job or the death or divorce of a spouse, can be to blame, and Covid-19 has created substantial need in the community. Maria says that “treating clients with dignity and respect is paramount” and that “the NFP is not a stand-along organization but an amazing network of caring individuals and organizations.”

In her spare time, Maria loves to read, travel, cook, make pottery, and go to the theatre, and she enjoys many outdoor activities, including gardening, walking, hiking, kayaking, and swimming. She and her husband are from the Caribbean (Puerto Rico and Cuba, respectively) and they have a daughter who lives in Ireland and a son and his husband who live in Sharon.

Thank you, Maria, for all the hard work that you have done for the pantry over the years!