There are two definitions of the word “help” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Help - to do something that makes it easier for someone dealing with a problem; to give yourself or another person food or drink. That is what Janet Shaner does every Wednesday afternoon from 3:15 till 5:00 helping disperse bags of food to those in need at Lake Cares Food Pantry.
“Listen, I feel blessed to be able to do this,” said Janet. “Not only does it humble me to help others but being with such a caring group of volunteers it’s just such a feel-good experience.” Janet is no stranger to volunteering. The native Texan has always given to others throughout her adult life. “Gosh, you know thinking back when my boys were in high school we hosted foreign exchange students,” she said. “I also volunteered at the soup kitchen when we lived in Maryland and the hospital gift shop, besides being involved with our church functions.”
When Lake Cares Food Pantry first opened the doors in 2009 Janet became a volunteer. She helped for several years and then took a slight break. But she kept running into Irene O’Malley, Executive Director of Lake Cares Food Pantry or Priscilla Beatty, Treasurer of the Pantry. “Every time I turned around I would bump into Irene or Priscilla and each one of them would ask when was I coming back,” said Janet. “Call it fate or a message from God, but I knew I needed to start back again.” She and her husband, Earl just celebrated 50 years of marriage. They celebrated with their two adult sons and their families aboard the Disney cruise ship. “We have five grandchildren and let me tell you we had a blast,” she said. “But you realize how lucky one is to be able to go on a cruise like that when so many are in need. We truly are blessed, but you have to give back.”