MILFORD, Conn. — Nearly every week for the past five years, 13-year-old David Albright as been baking muffins for the down-and-out and delivering them to the Beth El Center, Milford’s homeless shelter.

“The fact that a young person of his age would take it upon himself to bake muffins himself and bring them in speaks volumes for his character,” said Toni Dolan, executive director of Beth El.

“To the people who are down and vulnerable, it means a lot to them.”

David estimates that he’s delivered about 5,000 muffins in all.

“He’s not the sort of student who likes to draw attention to himself,” said Frank Lacerenza, principal of St. Mary’s School, which David has attended since the first grade. Next year he’ll be a freshman at Notre Dame High School in West Haven.

“For the last several years, he’s been collecting Halloween costumes for kids in the inner city, along with his older brother,” Lacerenza said. “He’s quiet, so most people don’t see the good things that he does. They are acts of true, unselfish compassion.”


It began when Albright was 8.

“It was the day after Christmas,” Albright recalled. “It was snowing really hard. We were driving past the homeless shelter. We happened to see a man sleeping in a pickup truck, trying to keep the snow from coming in through a broken window.

“We found out about the Beth El’s No Freeze program and how they need people to donate muffins and coffee, things like that,” he said. “I thought that would be a nice thing to do, so I started making muffins.”

Since then, with a helping hand from Betty Crocker, he’s been baking 24 muffins a week for the shelter, sometimes after school, sometimes on weekends. And after they come out of the oven, his mom gives him a lift to Beth El to drop them off.

Albright was recently presented with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, and on May 3 he’ll travel to Washington, D.C., to be recognized as one of only two Connecticut honorees in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program.

There, he will receive a check for $1,000.


Joining him will be the 101 other high school and middle school honorees — two from each state and Puerto Rico.

The Beth El Center, at 90 New Haven Ave., has housing for 34 people and it also has a soup kitchen. Clients typically stay there for 90 days.

From December through March the soup kitchen operates its “no-freeze shelter” at night, Dolan said.

“Obviously he’s aware that everyone isn’t living the life that he and his friends at school enjoy,” Dolan said. “Most people don’t realize what an act like this means to our clients. It helps them get through the trials that they’re going through and for a young man like him to do something like this — at his age — is incredibly enlightening.”

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