LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Mary McDonald

Position: Family Consumer Science Teacher
School: Central Bucks West High School
School District: Central Bucks School District
City, State: Doylestown, PA

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Music that Describes Mary

Mary McDonald was nominated by her colleague, Lauren Myrtetus.

Ms. McDonald is a trailblazer.  A trailblazer is defined as "a pioneer, somebody who's willing to take risks and go in a path that isn't already there.  They blaze a trail and leave a path for others."

Ms. McDonald is the creator of the Central Bucks School District (CBSD) Farmer's Market at Barclay Elementary School.  She started this program with a few other teachers and administrators to try and combat food insecurity in her district. She was able to secure many organizations as donors of fresh produce, dairy products, canned goods, eggs, and much more. These organizations included Philabundance, The Bucks County Opportunity Council, and many others. There have also been times when clothing, coats, and school supplies have been available for families and students at no cost.

The Farmer's Market started as a monthly program, but with the start of the COVID-19 crisis and the increased demand for food, it became a weekly program serving hundreds of people every Wednesday.  What started as a walk-in market where families could choose and pack their own items, had to change to a drive-through program due to COVID-19. Cars line up as far as the eye can see and drive through a well-organized series of stations where boxes and bags of food items are loaded into their trunks by volunteers who work for the district.  People line up well before the market opens at 4PM, and the flow is non-stop until the market closes at 5 PM, sometimes later. The amount of set up, organization, and clean up is incredible. Every time, Ms. McDonald is there for all of it, directing what needs to happen.

"Mary has literally prevented more families and students from going hungry than I can even begin to count with this program," said Myrtetus. "It has grown into a massive undertaking, but it's worth all of the time and effort to hear the thankfulness people express when picking up their food. I could not let 2020 go by without Mary McDonald being acknowledged for the life-saving, trailblazing work she is doing to help the families and students who are experiencing food insecurity in the Central Bucks School District."

Comments (43)

Ron Ridolfo Posted over a year ago

Well done Mary for spearheading the farmers market to feed families in our Central Bucks neighborhoods. You truly are a special person helping those in need.

Lindy Ratcliffe Posted over a year ago

Thank you, so much, Mary! Your undertaking to alleviate food insecurity for Central Bucks families is truly amazing! You are an inspiration!

Marybeth Vinkler Posted over a year ago

Oh Mary, I had now idea you were behind the Barclay farmers market, though I should have known! Congratulations on this honor, you have, and always will be a trailblazer!??

Sharon Forte Posted over a year ago

Congratulations, Mary, for all your hard work and success!

Jada Lopez Posted over a year ago

I am so proud of you Mrs. Mcdonald! You are so deserving of this award and I cannot wait to see what you continue to do in the future!

Donna McGlone Posted over a year ago

A former Central Bucks parent that sees the good that teachers in the district do. Mary, thank you and God bless.

Michelle McCartan Posted over a year ago

Thank you for stepping up for so many who are in need but often live in the shadows. We fully support your nomination and hope you win the award. Thank you again for your dedication, kindness, and perseverance!

Colleen Albrecht Posted over a year ago

She is a light among the darkness, when people needed it most. Something simple, but incredibly impactful for so many people in our own community who had never known this need before. Mary embodies what empathy and compassion are for our fellow neighbors and that is what we need to teach our kids. Maybe more so than other subjects, because that is what the world needs more of right now. She models this behavior in her everyday life. She is a truly wonderful role model for our kids.

Inda Carvallo Posted over a year ago

Dear Mary, what an honor !!! I was able to be in your classroom during my time at CB West !!! Congrats Inda Carvallo

Leigh Nunno Posted over a year ago

Mary, what a beautiful way to support your community by focusing on this food program. Your kindness and creativity are appreciated and impressive!

Jada Lopez Posted over a year ago

I am so proud of you Mrs. Mcdonald! You are so deserving of this award and I cannot wait to see what you continue to do in the future!

Angela Hendershot Posted over a year ago

I can not think of any one more deserving than YOU, Mary!!! You selflessly serve others with kindness and love. Your hard work has made an incredible, positive ripple on our community and world! Thank you for devoted efforts every single day!!! We appreciate you and are so proud to call you a colleague!!!

Gregg Rinedoller Posted over a year ago

This is an amazing woman. Never giving less than 100% in an capacity: Family, Friendship, School, Community Hands down favorite; not just this year- EVERY year.

Stacey Smith Posted over a year ago

Mary is AMAZING and one of the kindest people I have had the pleasure of working with. Well deserved award :)

Raquel Riad Posted over a year ago

Mary is an all around champion of the people. She helped start the Farmer's Market and significantly stepped it up when the shut down occurred. It went from serving around 50 families monthly to 200 weekly. In addition, she ran an after school group to make soups and food for students to take home, is part of the wellness committee, helped establish a partnership with Philabundance, and still goes out of her way to help individual students. As the district social worker, I am in awe of her humanitarian efforts and so very grateful to have this amazing woman as my colleague. She takes ideas and makes them a reality thereby helping so many.

Aparna Nair Posted over a year ago

Thank you Mary for going above and beyond and for your selfless service.

Donna Leonardis Posted over a year ago

My oldest had Mrs. McDonald & spoke so highly of her time in her class. Mrs. McDonald sent me a note about my child that remains cherished to me. I’m so thankful my daughter was blessed to have the influence of Mrs. McDonald! Her love for her job, her students & school community is evident!

Cathy Courter Posted over a year ago

Mary, You have always been a driving force in supporting your community, family and friends. Your kindness and shining personality is a blessing to all who know you. I cannot say this nomination comes as a surprise. Thank you for all you do. Love Cathy

Stacy Young Posted over a year ago

We have been blessed to live next to Mary for almost 11 years and I can honestly say she is one of the most selfless and giving people I have ever met! Mary is so dedicated to her students at West and pours so much heart and soul into the Farmer’s market! There is no one more deserving for this award . . . Congrats Mary, you are changing lives year after year! Thanks for always bringing so much joy, love and positivity to those around you! We love you and are so proud of you!

Erika Blumenthal Posted over a year ago

Mary is an amazing teacher. She taught my daughter cooking during the height of the pandemic and managed to put together an amazing class for the students who were all at home. In addition I sat in a bit with my daughter and also learned some new techniques and great recipes. It turned out to be a really great family experience when we needed one this winter. Mary was a life changer for our family and for so many others.

Kristi Holloway Posted over a year ago

Mary is one of those people that you meet and just say Wow! She gives unselfishly to others and cares so deeply! Her work with our Farmers Market is amazing. She always has a smile on her face and a kind word for all! Congratulations my friend!

Dawn Curran Posted over a year ago

I'm so grateful to have Mary as a colleague! She cares so much about kids, staff, and our school community. Mary is full of great ideas, enthusiasm, and kindness. She has a great, contagious energy. I'm so glad to see her recognized!

Anna McDermott Posted over a year ago

Mary is absolutely the most positive, uplifting person I know! I'm so thankful to have her in our West Community! She is always around to lend a helping hand and she never turns away a friend in need. Mary has contributed so much to our school and our community that it's hard to believe she has any time for herself! She is always going above and beyond for the students, faculty and Central Bucks community. Mary has a beautiful spirit and she continues to work hard at making the lives of all students, staff and community members in Central Bucks better! So great to see you nominated Mary! Congratulations!

Maggie Sharkey Posted over a year ago

It is an honor to have been Mary's classroom neighbor. I have observed her passion for helping her students thrive in a warm and welcoming classroom environment. Mary's altruism is an inspiration! In addition to her work to support those that may be encountering food insecurity, she also devotes time and energy to support the health and wellness of her fellow co-workers. We are lucky to have her in Central Bucks.

Lauren Magee Posted over a year ago

Mary, You have such a huge heart and words cannot describe the huge impact you have had on our community! The amount of hours you put into running the market and then dropping off food boxes easily amounts to another full time job. You are always looking out for our kiddos, making sure they have food and coats. You know how and WHO to connect and together we create a larger network of support. I appreciate everything you have done and continue to do to make our community better. You are a superstar! con amor, Lauren Magee

Shawn O'Brien Posted over a year ago

Mary is such an amazing support to our whole community at West! Not only with what she does in these programs, but also what Mary brings to the classroom -- even the positivity she brings to the hallway -- she absolutely lifts up everyone around her! I'm grateful to work with such an incredible person!

Michael Castelli Posted over a year ago

You work so hard for the CB community. Congratulations! You deserve it.

Jennifer L Blake Posted over a year ago

CONGRATULATIONS MARY!!!!! I am THRILLED to see you are being recognized for all you do for your students, colleagues and community! You are truly the kindest, most giving, caring person with a HEART OF GOLD!!!! WELL DESERVED and your West Family LOVES YOU SO MUCH<3<3<3<3

Henry Hunt Posted over a year ago

Mary you are so deserving of this recognition. Your heart is always focused on the greater good for our kids at West and the entire CB Community. You are making a profound impact on the lives of so many as we are all dealing with many challenges presented by the Pandemic. I am so proud to work with you and support your many efforts to teach and care for others.

Jeanine Waldron Posted over a year ago

Mary , SO many congratulations!!!! Thank you for doing this important work!

Jessica Tosti Posted over a year ago

Mary is one of the kindest, most giving people I know. Her service-learning philosophy is truly inspiring to both her students and colleagues. Thank you for all that you Mary!

Kelley Peloquin Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Mary! Your love and commitment not only to the students at West, but all students and families in the Central Bucks School District is remarkable and so inspiring. We are so lucky to have you at West!

Kelly Wingen Posted over a year ago

I’m so glad Mary is getting some much-deserved recognition for all she does both inside and outside the classroom. She creates a classroom space where all students feel safe and can engage with content that will benefit them the rest of their lives. That’s just the work she does for the community DURING the school day.

Anna McDermott Posted over a year ago

Mary is absolutely the most positive, uplifting person I have ever met. There has never been a time where Mary has said she cannot help someone. If you ask her, she'll find a way to help. In many cases, you don't even need to ask - she just knows what is needed and when! She is an amazing asset to the CB West community and I'm so thankful to have her right across the hall! Her bright smile, cheery personality and unwavering patience are what make her an exceptional person and an extraordinary teacher (among many other things!) I could write novels about how amazing this woman is - there's nothing she can't do! Congratulations Mary! I'm always so thankful to have you near by!

Marie McCrone Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Mary! Having sat in many of your classes I cannot think of anyone more deserving! The lessons you teach and your patience across the board were always so impressive! I hope to see you as the winner! You Go Girl! ??Marie

Emily Murray Posted over a year ago

Mary never ceases to amaze me! She has a heart of gold and puts her love and passion for helping others into real, life-changing action. Her efforts with the Central Bucks Farmer's Market are incredible. We are so fortunate to have Mary in the Central Bucks community.

Brian Hensel Posted over a year ago

Mary, I am so glad to know that others feel the same way about you as we all do. You are the definition of this accolade!

Diana Thomas Posted over a year ago

So many families have benefited from this incredible program. Thank you Mary and to all the volunteers and organizations that are now involved to help with this wonderful program.

Susan Roth Posted over a year ago

This is a perfect way to recognize you! You give to others in so many ways and ALWAYS have a positive attitude. I admire that. Your efforts to help our food insecure families goes above and beyond, and it has grown into something our community depends on. You have changed more lives than I'm sure you know. Plus you do what you do in the most unassuming, non-judgmental way. Congratulations!

Drew Sterner Posted over a year ago

Congratulations on your nomination! This is a truly deserving recognition for your great vision and tireless leadership to provide sustenance and nourishment to so many of our students and surrounding community.

Karen Sammler Posted over a year ago

Mary always has a smile and gives off a positive vibe. The Farmers' Market is truly a blessing to our community. In addition to this program, she also was helpful to staff during the isolation period of the pandemic. She hosted "Healthy Meals with Nutrition Mary", a virtual live cooking session where she "shared her knowledge to help our CB community navigate the ups and downs of the ever-changing food market while making a tasty, healthy meal". We had the opportunity to virtually "cook alongside her".

Sharon A Hetrick Posted over a year ago

Mary makes all of us teachers at Central Bucks West very proud!

Christie Besack Posted over a year ago

Mary is an absolute gem in our community. She is wholly respected and loved by her colleagues and is always looking for ways to better our very large district. I am so happy she has been nominated!