Ensuring no neighbor goes hungry

With the help of the James O’Connell Insurance Agency, Billerica Community Pantry is doing groundbreaking things for their town. To vote for them, use the social media buttons to share this story, or leave a comment below. Reaching 500 votes means the $5k donation they’ve already earned doubles to $10k!

Living a life you can thrive in starts with food security. Yet there are still countless people in our own communities who struggle to meet this basic need. That struggle may be invisible to many, but Billerica Community Pantry in Massachusetts refuses to accept it.

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James O’Connell get the Billerica Community Pantry’s shelves fully stocked, ready to be distributed to Billerica neighbors.

The Community Pantry serves the people of Billerica who are in need, regardless of demographics. This nonprofit typically supports around 175 families a month, but since the pandemic began, that number has ballooned to 450. The James O’Connell Insurance Agency stepped in over two and a half years ago to assist the organization in their efforts and intends to step up their impact.

“Some fights can only be fought in person, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Billerica in this way.”

-James O’Connell, Principal, James O’Connell Insurance Agency

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“Without her I would not be able to help out at the food pantry!” Being a small agency, O’Connell credits agency Office Manager, Leslie, as the force that keeps the office running while he volunteers.

When your neighbors are in need, it’s personal

James and Cathy O’Connell take their role in the Billerica community seriously and have channeled their commitment into the Community Pantry. Since they started volunteering in late 2018, the O’Connells have spent up to eight hours a month helping stock shelves and preparing the Pantry to distribute food and personal items.

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The O’Connells helped set up food at one the Billerica Food Pantry’s distribution events. The couple has been volunteering about eight hours a month since 2018.

Finding opportunity in the hardest of times

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The James O’Connell Insurance Agency’s passion for this cause has been steadfast, even through the outbreak of COVID-19. Putting their own health on the line, the two continued to volunteer and even began to commit their own funds to the Community Pantry.

To James O’Connell, there was no question of how to approach continuing to support his neighbors amid the pandemic. “Some fights can only be fought in person, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Billerica in this way,” said O’Connell. “While the future is unknown, we do know that when people join together to do good deeds, challenges can be overcome.”

Now, with the opportunity to secure a larger donation through the Make More Happen Awards, they have considered the deeper service the Community Pantry can offer. “Additional funding would unlock the door to more nutritious food items, hygiene products and cleaning supplies,” said Sandra Giroux, a board member of the Billerica Community Pantry. “These items are often taken for granted by many but are key to creating a sense of well-being in those facing food insecurity.”

“Additional funding would unlock the door to more nutritious food items, hygiene products and cleaning supplies. These items are often taken for granted by many but are key to creating a sense of well-being in those facing food insecurity.”

-Sandra Giroux, Board Member, Billerica Community Pantry

 

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In a community of 45,000 people, Billerica Community Pantry has been taking on a huge responsibility relative to most nonprofits of its size. $10,000 could feed 600 four-person families for two months. This means that your vote could quite literally help this amazing organization feed over five percent of the entire Billerica community. All it takes it a comment or a share!

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INSURANCE TERMS, EXPLAINED – FEBRUARY 2021

CONTINUED FROM JANUARY 2021

AUTO INSURANCE TERMS

AFTERMARKET PARTS: VEHICLE PARTS MADE BY A DIFFERENT COMPANY THAN THE ONE THAT MANUFACTURED THOSE ORIGINALLY INCLUDED WITH THE VEHICLE.

BODILY INJURY COVERAGE: COVERS EXPENSES FOR PHYSICAL INJURIES, SUCH AS HOSPITAL BILLS OR MEDICAL CARE.

COLLISION COVERAGE: THIS PAYS FOR DAMAGE TO A VEHICLE CAUSED BY YOU OR SOMEONE ELSE COVERED BY YOUR POLICY.

COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE: IF YOUR VEHICLE IS DAMAGED BY SOMETHING YOU COULD NOT CONTROL, SUCH AS FIRE OR A TREE FALLING, COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE APPLIES.

PIP(PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION): THIS PAYS MEDICAL EXPENSES FOR A POLICYHOLDER, OR ADDITIONAL INSURED, AND THEIR PASSENGERS, IF THEY ARE HURT IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT, REGARDLESS OF WHO IS AT FAULT.

UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST(UIM): PAYS FOR YOUR DAMAGES AND EXPENSES IF ANOTHER DRIVER IS AT FAULT IN AN ACCIDENT BUT DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH INSURANCE TO COVER YOUR COSTS.

 

 

HOME INSURANCE TERMS

 

ADDITIONAL LIVING EXPENSES: COVERAGE FOR EXPENSES ABOVE YOUR USUAL LIVING EXPENSES, SUCH AS IF YOU HAD TO STAY IN A HOTEL BECAUSE YOU CNT’ LIVE IN YOUR DAMAGED HOME.

FLOOD INSURANCE: TYPICALLY, STANDARD HOMEOWNERS POLICIES DO NOT PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR FLOODING-IT MUST BE PURCHASED SEPERATELY.

HOME CONTENTS: THESE ARE THINGS INSIDE YOUR HOUSE THAT ARE NOT FIXED TO THE STRUCTURE, SUCH AS YOUR FURNITURE, APPLIANCES, ECT.

SCHEDULED PERSONAL PROPERTY:  SEPARATE COVERAGE FOR HIGH-VALUE ITEMS, SUCH AS EXPENSIVE JEWELRY, THAT EXCEEDS THE LIMITS OF YOUR POLICY OR ARE OTHERWISE EXCLUDED.

CATASTROPHE: A DISASTER, SUCH AS A HURRICANE OR TORNADO, THAT IMPACTS A SPECIFIC AREA AND RESULTS IN SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE.

PERIL: A SPECIFICALLY DEFINED RISK, SUCH AS HAIL, FLOODING, WIND, ETC.

 

IF SOMETHING IS NOT CLEAR WHEN YOUR’E BUYING OR CONSIDERING INSURANCE, DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS!!  WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU GET THE COVERAGE YOU NEED- AND MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND IT, TOO.

 

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INSURANCE TERMS, EXPLAINED – January 2021

MED PAY? PIP? DEC PAGES?

WITH ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT COVERAGES FOR ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT NEEDS, INSURANCE

CAN BE VERY CONFUSING.  AND TO MAKE IT EVEN MORE CHALLENGING, AT TIMES IT

PROBABLY SEEMS LIKE INSURANCE WEBSITES AND POLICY DOCUMENTS ARE WRITTEN IN A COMPLETELY FOREIGN LANGUAGE.

HERE IS A LITTLE BASIC KNOWLEDED ABOUT INSURANCE.  BELOW ARE DEFINITIONS FOR SOME COMMON TERMS THET WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR COVERAGE A LITTLE BETTER.

GENERAL INSURANCE TERMS

. ACTUAL CASH VALUETHIS TYPE OF COVERAGE PAYS ACCORDING TO WHAT AN ITEM WAS WORTH AT THE TIME IT WAS DAMAGED-IT TAKES DEPRECIATION AND WEAR AND TEAR INTO ACCOUNT. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU COULD HAVE SOLD YOUR COUCH FOR ABOUT $200 JUST BEFORE IT WAS DAMAGED, THAT IS THE ACTUAL CASH VALUE, EVEN IF A SIMILAR NEW COUCH WOULD COST $1000.

. ACTUAL REPLACEMENT COST: THIS PAYS THE AMOUNT IT WOULD COST TO REPLACE A DAMAGED ITEM WITH A NEW ONE (SUCH AS THE $1000 COUCH ABOVE). IT DOES NOT FACTOR IN DEPRECIATION OR WEAR AND TEAR.

.ADDITIONAL INSURED: SOMEONE WHO IS NOT THE POLICYHOLDER, BUT IS STILL COVERED BY AN INSURANCE POLICY.

ADJUSTER: A PERSON WHOI WORKS FOR AN INSURANCE COMPANY TO EVALUATE LOSSES AND SETTLE CLAIMS.

DECLARATION PAGE: THIS IS WHAT CREATES A CONTRACT BETWEEN YOU AND THE INSURANCE COMPANY. IT DESCRIBES WHO OWNS THE PROPERTY, WHAT PROPERTY IS COVERED AND FOR HOW MUCH, ETC.

DEDUCTIBLE:  THE AMOUNT YOU AGREE TO PAY OUT OF POCKET BEFORE YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE KICKS IN. FOR EXAMPLE, IF THE COST YOU TO FIX YOUR CAR IS $2000, BUT YOUR DEDUCTIBLE IS $1000, YOU WILL PAY $1000 OF THE TOTAL COST. TYPICALLY, A HIGHER DEDUCTIBLE MEANS A LOWER PREMIUM.

EXCLUSION:  SOMETHING SPECIFICALLY LISTED IN YOUR POLICY THAT IS NOT COVERED BY THE POLICY.

LIABILITY: YOUR RESPONSIBILITY FOR INJURIES OR DAMAGE TO OTHER PEOPLE OR PROPERTY. YOU PURCHASE INSURANCE TO PROTECT AGAINST LIABILITY AND OTHER RISKS.

MED PAY: THIS PAYS FOR MEDICAL EXPENSES FOR THOSE COVERED BY YOUR POLICY IN THE EVENT OF AN AUTO ACCIDENT, REGARDLESS OF WHO IS AT FAULT. IT ALSO COVERS MEDICAL EXPENSES FOR GUEST IF THEY ARE INJURED ON YOUR PROPERTY, BUT UNLESS IT IS A CAR ACCIDENT, IT USUALLY DOES NOT COVER INJURIES SOMEONE  SUFFERS ON THEIR OWN PROPERTY.

LOSS OF USE: WHEN DAMAGE FROM AN ACCIDENT OR OTHER CAUSE PREVENTS SOMEONE FROM BEING ABLE TO LIVE IN THEIR HOME OR DRIVE THEIR CAR.

PREMIUM: THE AMOUNT YOU PAY FOR AN INSURANCE POLICY.

TERM: THE PERIOD OF TIME YOUR INSURANCE POLICY IS IN EFFECT, USUALLY 12 MONTHS.

SUBROGATION: WHEN AN INSURANCE COMPANY PAYS A CLAIM, AND THEN SEEKS DAMAGES FROM A THIRD PARTY WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR CAUSING THE DAMAGE OR LOSS. FOR EXAMPLE, YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY MIGHT PAY FOR YOUR CAR TO BE FIXED EVEN THOUGH AN ACCIDENT WASN’T YOUR FAULT-AND THEN PURSUE REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE PERSON WHO IS AT FAULT.

UMBRELLA: A POLICY THAT PROVIDES ADDITIONAL LIABILITY COVERAGE. IT KICKS N AFTER YOUR OTHER INSURANCE POLICIES HAVE REACHED COVERAGE LIMITS.

UNDERWRITING: THE EVALUATION PROCESS INSURANCE COMPANIES USE TO DETERMINE IF THEY WILL PROVIDE COVERAGE TO A CUSTOMER.

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What is happening at James OConnell Insurance Agency.

Leslie and I went to the MAIA trade show on October 27th.  Where we met reps from companies we currently work  with and to see what  other companies had to offer. Great day!!!

I just became the President of the board of directors for the Greater Billerica Boy’s and Girl’s Club. This is a 2 year term, and I am very excited to work with the board to make the club better, a” Safe place for the kids”.

We are currently collecting Pajama’s for the needy which will be distributed in December by Service Master.

We won #1 Choice in Billerica for Insurance and placed 3rd in the region with the Billerica Minuteman Reader’s Choice awards.

We are collecting for again this year. You can drop off unwrapped toys at our office until Dec 10th.

Lets fill the box!!!!!

Finally, we will be helping serve our seniors at the Billerica Elks on Thursday November 15th. Thanksgiving dinner.

Jim