New England Patriots recognize Wellesley woman for Women’s Lunch Place work

Wellesley’s Donna Fessler has been selected as the New England Patriots’ Difference Maker of the Week, and no, she’s not a desperately needed wide receiver.

Fessler is being honored for her work with the Women’s Lunch Place in Boston, and the Patriots Foundation will be making a $5,000 donation to the nonprofit organization.

donna fessler
Donna Fessler, Women’s Lunch Place volunteer extraordinaire

Women’s Lunch Place is a day shelter that provides food and other services for women experiencing homelessness or poverty.

For the past 12 years, Donna has volunteered in the kitchen, greeted guests at the welcome center, and served on various fundraising committees and recruited dozens of volunteers.

Back in March when the pandemic spread across the country, she began volunteering for the nonprofit’s Back-door Meal program, which brings prepared food to shelters that were unable to keep up with the demand. She helped with their mobile food pantry program by delivering meals and pantry items to individuals who were sheltering in place in temporary housing.

Donna also led the effort to bring the Mask Makers Group to Women’s Lunch Place. She and other mask makers donated time and materials to sew and donate masks to women living on the street.

Last month, Wellesley firefighter Joanie Cullinan was named Difference Maker of the Week for her commitment to 15-40 Connection., an organization focused on teaching people how to detect cancer early.