May 17, 2001
“The Weber Foundation of Helping Hands Inc.” celebrated its beginning with a reception at the Weber’s home in Melrose, Mass., with nearly 300 people in attendance.
Elizabeth welcomed everyone to the first “Helping Hands” reception and told her story about how the Foundation got started. Lisa Tedeschi Gray, Treasurer and Clerk, explained the mission statement of the Foundation and Sandy LaVersa, Secretary, announced the upcoming events encouraging everyone to participate.
The evening was filled with excitement, compassion, love and togetherness. All present truly felt they were making a difference in other people’s lives. The Foundation was created on the premise that “Everyone needs a Guardian Angel once in awhile.” Each grant given will identify the name of the individual who submitted the request as the recipient’s Guardian Angel.
Elizabeth shared the following during her speech, “It takes a lot of ‘Helping Hands’ to make a difference so let’s makes a difference together. When you give back you are saying, ‘Thank you’ for what you already have, and you open yourself up to a better, more fulfilling life. The more that you give to others, the more that is given to you.”
The foundation's first charitable event was a resounding success, raising nearly $50,000. The Weber’s were overwhelmed with the response and generous donations given, as well as the time and service donated by volunteers. Elizabeth and Bruce personally donated all of the expenses for the evening so that 100% of the donations would go to those in need.
To date, the Foundation has issued seven grants to individuals and families. The first grant was to the D.A.R.E. Fun Walk for Robby Sorrentino, the young boy who was battling leukemia. The second grant was given to a Melrose, Mass. family of six who lost their home to a fire. The next grants issued went to a twenty-nine year old man suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease and the Terry family of Norwood, Mass., whose three-year-old son Bobby is suffering with a brain tumor resulting in numerous complications and six brain surgeries.
The Foundation issued grants to two other families who lost their homes to devastating fires: the Conley Family of eight from Wilmington, Mass. and Patty Catherson, a single mother of two little girls from Lancaster, Penn.