WE CAN’s 16th annual Day of Words, Wit, and Wisdom was celebrated at the Wychmere Beach Club on June 2nd. The event was emceed by novelist Jane Hamilton, and guest authors were Anna Solomon, Michael Ruhlman and Jackie Polzin. The day culminated as the organization honored Catherine D'Amato with WE CAN’s Woman of the Year award.
A tireless advocate for the hungry for more than 40 years, D’Amato is President and CEO of The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), New England’s largest hunger-relief organization. Last year, GBFB distributed food that equates to over 97 million meals, working with over 600 partner agencies, more than 50 of which are on Cape Cod.
WE CAN's Executive Director Lisa Guyon said, "Our Woman of the Year is chosen because she has proven to be a role model in her life and career, someone who has also herself met life's challenges with courage and grace. Her life and work clearly resonate with the mission and values of WE CAN."
The theme of the 2022 Words, Wit and Wisdom event was reinvention, something with which D’Amato is very familiar. Under D’Amato’s guidance, GBFB has risen to the unprecedented challenge of responding to the surge in hunger due to the COVID-19 pandemic, distributing 70% more food to GBFB partner agencies that report serving double the number of people in need.
“We have all had to reinvent ourselves - not once but many times,” D'Amato said. She continued by saying that “WE CAN has also remained resilient. Your reinvention worked, you did it and will continue to do it.”
D’Amato has received numerous honors and awards for her leadership in hunger relief. These include: The Pinnacle Award of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; the Anti-Defamation League Woman of Valor Award; the Fenway Health Susan B. Love Award; the first-ever Community Service Award of the Massachusetts Food Association; the New England Women’s Leadership Award; Feeding America’s Hunger’s Hope Award; and multiple honorary degrees from local universities.