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Local woman dedicated to making sure the less fortunate get a good meal
Sheri Austin found the perfect place to feel useful. Two years ago, she began volunteering in the warehouse for Manna Food Pantries. She has committed more than 600 hours of service so far and she is truly committed; never missing her shift and often times going above and beyond.
Sheri said, "There would be days that there were only one or two volunteers and, you know, I thought then if I'm not here, there may be one or none and I know that they need, you know, more volunteers."
It is the stories behind every box and bag of food that fuel Sheri's dedication. They are heartwrenching and unimaginable for most of us, but these stories are real.
"To hear stories of our elderly eating cat food for their meals. You know, that's hard to comprehend," Sheri said. "To not know what you're going to feed your child for their next meal, I think would be very devastating."
While Sheri typically prefers doing the heavy lifting and sorting in the warehouse, she's learned the ropes and steps in wherever and whenever she is needed. Manna CEO DeDe Flounlacker said what volunteers like Sheri bring to their mission is invaluable.
DeDe Flounlacker, Manna Food Pantries Executive Director;
"It enables us to provide food for the hungry tonight," Flounlacker said. "Tonight there's a mom, tonight there's a day, tonight there's a grandmother, there's a child who's going to have a meal - a healthy meal provided by Manna thanks to Sheri and other volunteers."
Even an hour or two here and there is a tremendous help. If you don't have the time, Sheri said there's another critical way you can help.
"Grab an extra two or three cans of what you're going to feed your family for Thanksgiving, you know, and donate that," Sheri said. "You think it's just three cans but those three cans are very helpful to somebody that has nothing."