She sought to feed the chil­dren in need

No Kid Hun­gry joins ef­fort to pro­vide meals

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - BOOKS - Ros­alind Cum­mings-Yeates

Joanne Ed­wards has lived in the small town of Gree­leyville, South Car­olina, for more than 30 years, and her time as the dis­trict li­ai­son for an el­e­men­tary school pro­vided her with a clear view of the com­mu­nity’s needs. With the near­est gro­cery store 15 to 20 miles away, many par­ents strug­gled to feed their chil­dren.

So Ed­wards joined forces with No Kid Hun­gry (nokid­hun­gry.org), a pro­gram that pro­vides meals to needy fam­i­lies, to make sure Gree­leyville’s chil­dren were fed. She or­ga­nized food pick­ups at con­ve­nient lo­ca­tions and spear­headed a team to de­liver food.

Ques­tion: What mo­ti­vated you to start the sum­mer pro­gram with No Kid Hun­gry?

Ed­wards: I wanted to be of help and build things up to make things bet­ter. I had the vi­sion, but I didn’t al­ways have the re­sources. No Kid Hun­gry stepped in and sup­plied all the re­sources. They stood by us 100 per­cent.

Q: What is your fa­vorite hol­i­day movie?

Ed­wards: “Mir­a­cle on 34th Street” be­cause I like to think it re­flects our town. This pro­gram has been a mir­a­cle in Gree­leyville.

Q: What was the best gift you’ve ever re­ceived?

Ed­wards: When I was a child, my dad worked in Florida, and Christ­mas was when he came home. He came in one year with a big bag of Florida or­anges. Those were the sweet­est or­anges that I’ve ever tasted. We shared them with the whole com­mu­nity.

Ed­wards’ best ad­vice on vol­un­teer­ing

Get mo­ti­vated: Vol­un­teer­ing keeps me go­ing. It gives ful­fill­ment to all of us. Af­ter I re­tired, I vol­un­teered in the af­ter-school pro­gram (at the school); that was my heart. I loved ev­ery minute of it.

Shine the spot­light: Keep sto­ries about causes alive all year round for peo­ple to learn about. Even when it’s not the hol­i­days, it’s im­por­tant to spread the word that there is hunger in Amer­ica.

Do it for the kids: We do an An­gel Tree (toys and clothes pro­vided by the Sal­va­tion Army) dur­ing Christ­mas for our kids. I wish you could see their faces when they re­ceive their gifts. There’s noth­ing like mak­ing a kid happy.

MELISSA FARR

PRO­VIDED BY JOANNE ED­WARDS

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