DeAnne Dupont of Arlington has been selected as a 2019 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for her commitment to the nonprofit she cofounded, Food Link Inc.

Food Link cofounders DeAnne Dupont, left, with Julie Kremer.Food Link cofounders DeAnne Dupont, left, with Julie Kremer.

She is among 15 honored as outstanding volunteers by the New England Patriots throughout the season. They are to be recognized during a ceremony at the Patriots' final regular-season home game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Dec. 29.

Nine years ago, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation introduced a seasonlong theme called Celebrate Volunteerism. The main focus of the initiative was to recognize community volunteers and to promote the importance of volunteering.

Since its inception, New England Patriots players, coaches and alumni have donated tens of thousands of hours to giving back to their New England communities. During their weekly off day, Patriots players volunteer throughout New England to support children and families in need. Patriots season ticket members have also teamed with Patriots players to better their communities.

Celebrate volunteerism

Throughout the 2019 season, the foundation continues its Celebrate Volunteerism initiative by teaming with nonprofit organizations to educate fans about the need for volunteering, highlighting deserving volunteers from across the region and seeking to inspire Patriots fans to become lifelong volunteers. The foundation presents a weekly “Patriots Difference Maker of the Week” award, which recognizes deserving volunteers who go above and beyond to support their New England communities.

“Volunteerism is at the heart of giving back and bettering our communities,” Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a Nov. 27 news release. “We will continue to honor and thank the many deserving volunteers in our region that are often not recognized for their valuable contributions. Through this Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, we hope to inspire Patriots fans to make a difference and become lifelong volunteers.” 

In 2012, DeAnne and Julie Kremer cofounded Food Link, when they were at a local café and witnessed employees throwing away bread at the end of the day. DeAnne and Julie offered to take the bread to a local low-income senior housing facility, and just like that, Food Link was born.

As the cofounder, president of the board of directors and executive director of Food Link, Dupont has been instrumental in building a food-rescue organization that has seen tremendous growth in recent years. The nonprofit collects food from 26 separate food donors, grocers, wholesalers, retailers and local farms. The food is then distributed to 46 social-service agencies in 15 local communities.

The nonprofit is open seven days a week, 363 days a year and has become a go-to organization for food donors and recipients alike.

'Deeply honored'

“I am deeply honored to receive this Patriots Difference Maker of the Week award,” Dupont said in the release. “Julie Kremer and I started Food Link seven years ago with a commitment to keeping fresh, nutritious food from being wasted while people were going hungry. Additionally, we wanted to prioritize bringing food to people, with dignity, by taking the food to places where they already live, learn, congregate and play.”

The team of more than 200 volunteers are committed to providing low-income and at-risk children and families with access to fresh, healthy foods. This past year, the nonprofit rescued more than 550,000 pounds of food and helped more than 18,000 people.

“Food Link sits at the intersection of two issues I care deeply about – hunger and food waste,” Dupont said. “I am proud that our team of dedicated volunteers will save from waste enough food to provide 500,000 meals in 2019.”

She volunteers more than 40 hours a week at Food Link. She recruits and manages volunteers, represents the organization at civic events, manages finances and actively fund-raises throughout the year. She works directly with individual donors and foundations, sharing the importance of the nonprofit and encouraging them to support Food Link’s efforts.

Capital campaign

She is working on a capital campaign to open a new home for the nonprofit on Summer Street. The new facility will more than triple the nonprofit’s impact in the community.

Dupont continues to volunteer with other organizations in and outside of her community. She is actively involved with Sustainable Arlington, promoting climate stabilization and ways to support the environment. She also manages community collections, serves as a Town Meeting member and is the treasurer of an assisted-living facility.

“Though we started small in Arlington, Food Link has grown beyond our wildest dreams, and we are now providing food in communities all over eastern Massachusetts,” she said. “This award, although given to me, is truly a recognition of the whole Food Link community, including Julie, our volunteers and staff, and the recipient agencies that distribute the food to individuals in need.”

Fans are encouraged to nominate a local volunteer for the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week award by visiting

Aug. 1, 2019: Food Link moves temporarily to ex-Parmenter location

This news announcement was published Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019.