ARBOR VITAE - Tomorrow the North Central Chapter of the American Red Cross honors local heroes. Today we're spotlighting two Northwoods stand-outs making a difference through the Lakeland Pantry.
"We have anywhere from 5,000 to 65-hundred men, women and children that come in monthly," said Pam Winkelman, director of the Lakeland Pantry.
That's a lot more than when the pantry opened more than 30 years ago. Today, directors Pam and John coordinate nearly 300 volunteers to stock shelves and offer the community even more than a bag of food.
"They [the kids] actually look forward to coming here because they have stuffed animals and they have other things they can do," said John Winkelman, "They have toys they have books for them and we have former grade school teachers and librarians that run or book area, we have some great clothing areas for all ages."
For the past 7 and half years the Winkelmans have run this pantry. In that time they've started 3 major fundraisers, and hosted health and eye care checks. It's not how they expected to spent their retirement, but they're glad to do it.
"I know personally it would mean a lot to John and I if we needed help that somebody would give their hand to us, and that's how we have felt from the very beginning," said Pam.
The Red Cross is honoring this pair for their hard work, but they give the credit to the volunteers and generosity of the community that help keep their doors open. Such a powerful thing can be accomplished with simple actions they say.
"It's difficult to help people that are maybe across the world, but you can certainly help somebody that's right down the road," says John.
Thursday evening the Red Cross will honor the Winkelmans and two other nominees for the 2013 Real Heroes Banquet.
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