In addition to her full-time position as Employment Specialist at Ramapo for Children’s Staff Assistant Experience Program (SAE), Wendy Wajda (middle, in the black mask) volunteers once a week doing Meal Assembly along with a group of young people from the program for RHR (pictured here). She learned about RHR through family members who helped Dan Budd get the organization’s website up and running; through them she volunteered to be a driver in order to get groceries and pharmacy needs delivered to recipients during the pandemic. From there, she responded to a need for Meal Assembly Shift Leaders and began doing that as well.

The Shift Leader position enabled her to provide safe vocational opportunities for SAE’s young adults, all of whom are either on the autism spectrum or have a related profile. Because of the pandemic many other placements had disappeared, but because of strict protocols, Wendy’s team were able to help RHR while at the same time acquire skills including timeliness, following directions, and teamwork. What gave Wendy the most satisfaction was watching her participants improve their self-esteem while at the same time contribute to the community. Currently, her team has grown to four participants who assemble up to seventy meals for RHR recipients on a weekly basis.

Wendy is committed to the value of volunteerism. She believes “everyone has something to give” and has worked with diverse populations including seniors and young adults. Ramapo’s SAE program is a residential year-round transition to independence program, and the work/life skills acquired through RHR’s Meal Assembly activities allow the participants to move forward in the world of work.

Community members interested in volunteering can sign up on the RHR website,, and can choose tasks depending on schedules and interests. Several community members have become part of the Tuesday SAE Team (shout out to Janie, Elizabeth, Susie, and Amy!). And for more information about Ramapo, SAE, and the varied programs they offer, check out