An employee with UniBank since 2012, it didn’t take too long for Mike Sabourin to establish his reputation as a Community Bank Hero, though undoubtedly he’ll blush when he reads these words.
“A dear friend of mine here recommended me for this position that opened up,” he said of his work at UniBank. He adds that he’s had a special connection to the bank, too. Sabourin and his entire family have been customers of UniBank their whole lives, and he lives just a few miles away from his job.
Colleagues describe Sabourin as a cheerful guy, somebody who brightens up any room, brings a smile to your face and is always happy to lend a helping hand.
But it’s his work with the Peace of Bread Community Kitchen at the United Presbyterian Church in Whitinsville that inspired his colleagues to nominate him as a Community Bank Hero.
“We didn’t tell him we were nominating him because we knew he would have tried to talk us out of it,” said Katie Hunt, UniBank’s marketing manager. “He doesn’t want credit for the things he does. He just does it because it’s the right thing to do, and he’s always talking about his work for the food pantry.”
Sabourin has been involved with Peace of Bread right from the start. It was originally his wife’s idea, he said. At the time, she just intended to serve a weekly meal to whoever needed one, no questions asked.
“The very first night we opened, we made meatloaf for 65 people and only one person showed up. It’s a good thing I really like meatloaf,” he quipped.
But they weren’t put off by the first night’s sparse attendance. Eventually, Sabourin said, word got out, and he estimates that Peace of Bread now serves about 100 to 150 people every Wednesday night.
And it’s expanded outward from its original mission, too.
“All we were intending to do was put on this meal, but then people started donating food, so we have a food pantry that we’ve had for years now,” he said. “Then people started donating clothes.”
Most Community Bank Heroes are modest when Banker & Tradesman calls them up to chat; Sabourin was no exception, but he was more than happy to talk about Peace of Bread and laud his company’s volunteering and fundraising efforts in the community.
But Hunt, who nominated Sabourin, said that he’s a true Community Bank Hero because he makes volunteering look easy.
“He really exemplifies the qualities that we as a community bank hold dear,” she said. “It’s the leaders of the company that you see really pulling and getting really involved, but when you see somebody like Mike, who’s just like everybody else, who’s working so hard and giving so much of himself to this organization, it’s really inspirational. You think, ‘If Mike can do it, I can do it, too.’”