With a background in theater, it’s no surprise that Abbe Levin is a bit of a ham. Or should we say turkey. For the past several Thanksgivings, she has brought joy to our clients by delivering meals while wearing her signature turkey hat.
Delivering meals “is a beautiful way to spend the holiday,” says Abbe. “People are so genuinely happy to see you and share in the joy of the day. I think of it as reaching out to friends I haven’t met yet.”
A native Washingtonian, Abbe first began delivering meals while working in New York City as an actor. Working with nonprofit organizations such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (a funder of Food & Friends) and God's Love We Deliver, she packed meals into her car to take to older adults, people with HIV/AIDS and others living with chronic illnesses.
Twelve years ago, Abbe moved back to the D.C. to help care for her aging parents, Chuck and Marge Levin, and manage Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center – the family business they founded in 1958. After both parents passed away, she found herself with free time to volunteer on holidays. That is when she connected with Food & Friends, offering to deliver meals over the winter holidays.
“I love doing the food delivery,” says Abbe, who in recent years has been joined by her colleague from the music store, Gloria Williams. “There’s something very calming, very comforting in delivering meals on Thanksgiving,” she says, pointing out that it puts her in a good mood going into the frenzy of Black Friday.
Abbe credits her parents with instilling in their children a philanthropic spirit and genuine compassion for others. “They were the kind of people I aspire to be,” she says.
So was her brother, Robert, who passed away suddenly two years ago at the age of 55 after a short illness. She still remembers the profound statement he made at the end of his life: “I’m so lucky,” she recalls him saying. “I have people to care for me. But what happens to th
ose who aren’t so lucky? What do they do?”
Abbe thinks about that every time she delivers a meal. “Thank goodness for organizations like Food & Friends, who step in and help until a cure is found – or just until…” she says in a voice filled with compassion.