In a year where it’s been hard not to focus entirely on our personal struggles, one woman decided it was the perfect time to give back.
When the pandemic first hit, Rhonda Lee, a native of Jackson County, West Virginia, saw a great need in her hometown. She quickly decided to take matters into her hands and began using her own money to run a food pantry right out of her basement!
Each week, she would take out a portion of her paycheck and put it toward serving others.
“Some weeks it was $200, some weeks it was $100,” she told WSAZ.
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Her beautiful act of kindness started with a friend who was short on food. Rhonda realized that she was in a place to fill that gap and knew she had to keep the support going.
Even after she was laid off from her job in June 2020, Rhonda pushed through, saving up enough money to keep the pantry going to this day!
Her motivation comes from a prior moment of need in her own life.
She lost everything she had to a flash flood in 1995. Fortunately, her community stepped in and supported her through that difficult time. She has been looking for a way to repay them ever since, and now she’s found it.
“I know what it’s like to get up one day and everything’s gone, and you’re starting over,” Rhonda explained. “They helped me, [now] I’m in a position, I’m gonna help others.”
She is ready and willing to help anyone, anytime, without a word of explanation. All they have to do is reach out to her on Facebook and express a need. If it’s too difficult for them to travel to her food pantry, Rhonda doesn’t hesitate to grab their boxes of food and drop them off herself.
“We don’t tell people no,” she said. “We just say, ‘How can we help?’ ‘What do you need?'”
Rhonda’s act of service, love, and selflessness earned her the title of WSAZ’s Hometown Hero. As we’re sure her entire community would agree, it is a well-deserved honor!
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