Doris Walton has been named the Town of Amherst’s 2023 Volunteer of the Year.
Walton, the founder and operator of the After the School Bell Food Program, which is helping ensure children in Amherst and the Cumberland region don’t go hungry, was recognized during a ceremony, hosted by the Amherst town council at the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, that honoured Amherst residents who volunteer.
“It’s volunteers like Doris, who, by giving so much back to our community through their volunteer efforts, truly make Amherst an outstanding, caring community, one that is a great place to live, work and play,” Mayor David Kogon said.
“Without volunteers like Doris, and countless others who freely give hours upon hours of their time, this town’s youth, sports, adult and seniors programs wouldn’t be possible. “We, the members of the Amherst town council, would like to thank Doris, and all of our many volunteers, for their dedication and service to the town.”
Walton started the After the School Bell Food Program, which provides food bags to children in need, in 2018 at West Highlands Elementary School. It now distributes more than 100 bags of food to students each Friday through numerous Cumberland region schools. The goal is to ensure children in need have food over the weekend, when they don’t have access to other food programs.
Walton will represent the town later this year when the province holds its annual volunteer appreciation event in Halifax.
During the ceremony, Oskar Sigtryggsson, a Grade 12 student at Amherst Regional High School was named the town’s Youth Volunteer of the Year. Sigtryggsson has been actively involved in the Amherst Youth Town Council for the past two years, holding the position of secretary and treasurer, and has always been available to assist in council fundraising, creating awareness and helping the Amherst marketing and events team at many events hosted by the town, such as the annual holiday light-up.
In addition, Sigtryggsson has volunteered for many school activities, including its social justice committee, which strives to create awareness of social issues facing students today. He has also helped organize cultural events for international students and fundraised for people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity by participating in the Cumberland YMCA’s Coldest Night of the Year project.
In all, 50 people were recognized for their volunteerism during the ceremony, which saw Deputy-Mayor Leon Landry and councillors George Baker, Charlie Chambers, Lisa Emery, Hal Davidson and Dale Fawthrop assist the mayor in handing out certificates of recognition to each volunteer.
Others receiving certificates in recognition of the volunteer efforts were: