By John Lynds
East Boston resident Sandra Nijjar with a group of residents and clergy, founded the East Boston Community Soup Kitchen in response to seeing more and more homelessness in the neighborhood.
With support from numerous community volunteers and food donated by popular restaurants like Panera Bread and Longhorn Steakhouse, each week the soup kitchen has been nothing short of a community driven success story–feeding hundreds of homeless since opening last year.
Last week, Nijjar was honored as a member of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s 2017 class of Unsung Heroines. Rep. Adrian Madaro and Sen. Joseph Boncore recommended Nijjar for this recognition because of her tireless efforts feeding the community’s homeless.
Nijjar was honored with the other Unsung Heroines for her outstanding contributions to the Soup Kitchen in a ceremony last Wednesday in the Great Hall at the State House in Boston.
“I am out of words to express the immense gratitude I feel having received the unsung heroine award,” said Nijjar. “I am humbled to have been selected to be one of the honorees. I would like to share that I have been helping my fellow sisters and brothers in various ways since I was a young child, because that is what my maternal grandparents taught me.”
Nijjar said she does not do the work in the community to seek recognition.
“I do it because I genuinely care about the wellbeing of others,” she said. “And I thank wholeheartedly my local legislators, Sen. Joe Boncore and Rep. Adrian Madaro, for nominating me. Thank you so much. I am out of words to express the immense gratitude I feel having received the Unsung Heroine award.”
Nijjar added that she was truly humbled to have been selected to be one of this year’s honorees.
The Unsung Heroines are women who don’t make the news, but make the difference. They are the women who use their time, talent and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods, cities and towns. They are mentors, volunteers and innovators who do what needs to be done without expectations of recognition or gratitude. These women are the glue that keeps a community together and every community is better because of their contribution.