National Grid Employees Making a Difference, One Meal at a Time

By Abeni Kendrick

For some of our customers in this COVID-19 pandemic, the economic impacts have been so severe that they don’t know where their next meal will come from. Two National Grid employees are doing their part to alleviate food insecurity in their hometowns. Deb Barnes, Lead Analyst in Gas Operation Controls, and Allison Lenz, Executive Assistant to Badar Khan, are getting creative to lend a hand to their neighbors.

Deb Barnes decided to give back by volunteering in her hometown of Cumberland, Rhode Island, assisting some of the most vulnerable members of her community, the elderly. The Town of Cumberland has organized local resources to provide prepared meals and transportation to the grocery store for seniors. Deb is volunteering at the Cumberland Senior Center, where volunteers are packing lunches provided by several community organizations, like the University of Rhode Island. Volunteers are serving up close to 300 meals every day for seniors in need.

Deb is doing her part, delivering about 57 meals to senior citizens in the community so far and is transporting lunches several times a week. This free door to door meal delivery service is making a difference, and the seniors of the community are grateful for this act of kindness. According to Deb, “It has been an unforgettable experience; the seniors leave little notes on their doors thanking us and letting us know how much they enjoyed the meals. I live in a great town that has truly come together.” Deb suggests contacting your local town hall if you’re interested in giving back in your community.








Allison Lenz has found a creative way to encourage her friends and neighbors to give back. Recognizing food pantries across the country are in need of donations more than ever, Allison set up a drive-by food pantry drop off site at her home. Making it easier than ever for neighbors and friends to give back, she and her family set out bins each morning for locals to donate items to the Acton Food Pantry in Massachusetts. Allison is not only raising awareness around food pantry shortage issues, but also creating a safe outdoor location for locals to drop off donations. With some social media promotion and word of mouth from neighbors and classmates, this innovative thinking turned out to be a huge success.

Allison said, “It makes us feel good that we’re helping out the community and I think it makes other people feel good because they’re donating and helping people that are in need.” Allison’s first food pantry collection drive netted food, toiletries, and diapers, weighing in at a half a ton, catching the attention of the local news. Allison received extra food pantry donations during her son’s 10th birthday parade facilitated by Acton community organizers and Acton Police,  where close to 50 cars drove by and donated.

Thanks to Allison and Deb for their commitment to the community and for reflecting National Grid’s values in their daily lives.