On Sunday, March 11, before a crowd of more than 3,000 individuals at Marco Island Residents’ Beach, the MICA Board of Directors presented its 2019 Humanitarian of the Year Award to the consummate volunteer and humanitarian, Allyson Richards!

MICA’s President Kathryn Sullivan stated that Allyson is a caring friend to so many and has made volunteering her job.  She has spent countless hours volunteering with Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, the Marco Island Charter Middle School, the Marco Island YMCA, the Marco Island Historical Society, the American Cancer Society of Marco Island Cancer, among many other causes.

The children at Marco Island Charter Middle School were lucky to have Allyson on their board of directors and as chair of their 20th anniversary celebration and other events, raising much-needed funds for school programs.

On Marco there is a daily Bread Run, taking bread from Publix and Winn Dixie every day from Marco Island to the 6L’s Farm migrant workers.  Through the YMCA, Allyson coordinates the program and drivers, and ensures that the bread is delivered to those who need it.

MICA’s Vice President Ray McChesney continued listing Allyson’s humanitarian acts.  Through “Our Daily Bread Food Pantry” and the Marco Island YMCA, Allyson has worked to perfect “Lunch with Friends Over 60.”  Each month this luncheon brings together seniors who would normally be in their homes alone.  She arranges for transportation if needed and has recently added entertainment to the luncheons.  They even outgrew their original location at the Family Church and are now up to 110 attendees at the Lutheran Church!

When a mom was in tremendous need with her newborn baby sleeping in a laundry basket, Allyson sought out donations for the new mom and delivered everything to her doorstep.

Katherine O’Hara, MICA’s Secretary, picked up where Ray left off by reminding that Allyson spurred all of us island wide over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays that just passed to “fill the trailer” with non-perishable food.  The food was then delivered to the “Our Daily Bread Food Pantry.”

By the way, the “trailer” is a cargo trailer her husband, Jim, bought for her, and that Allyson tows behind her car!  It has come in quite handy over the last couple of years.

It was also used last year to distribute food to the families of Manatee School children via Al’s Pals, Allyson and friends mobile food pantry.  Each Friday afternoon they drove the trailer to the school and distributed surplus food to help augment the meals of hungry and hardworking families.

Allyson’s latest project is collecting jeans and sturdy shoes for the migrant farm workers at 6L’s Farm just up the road.

She is on the Board of Directors of the Marco Island Historical Society and the Newcomers Club.  Even when not on the board of directors, Allyson has headed up events or raised funds for the Marco Island Center for the Arts and the American Cancer Society.

She has volunteered as a member of the City of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Committee for several years, ensuring that our city parks and programs are meeting the needs of our community now and in the future.

The MICA Humanitarian of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious awards on Marco Island. This esteemed award was developed in 1998 to honor the unsung heroes of Marco Island, the people who do so much for so many.  The wonderful, positive people you do not hear much about.

Allyson joins recent recipients, including Cheryl and Mike Mueller, Al Bismonte, Dennis and Joan Pidherny, the Super Team of Five from “Our Daily Bread Food Pantry” and Bernardo Bezos.

There are special people that help to change the face of a community through their leadership, dedication and energy.  Allyson Richards is that person on Marco Island.

Allyson humbly accepted the award and thanked the Marco Island community for assisting her in her pursuits, especially her Al’s Pals comrades!  Standing by her side was her husband, Jim Richards, and Allyson stated that he is her partner in all and helps to bring her ideas to fruition.

Congratulations, Allyson Richards on being named MICA’s 2019 Humanitarian of the Year!