BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - HOPE Ministries on Winbourne Avenue in Baton Rouge provides much more than just food for people in need. They teach life lessons through the living example of one of their own.
Sharleane Ellsworth came to HOPE in 2011 as a client. She lost everything she owned in a tragic house fire.
"Everyone at HOPE sat me down and put me on the right path," Sharleane confesses. "I still have a lot of faults, so I'm trying to find my way still. But I came a long, long way."
Kelli Rogers, the Chief Operating Officer of HOPE Ministries says Sharleane has the most giving spirit of anybody she's known.
"I've literally seen her take the socks off her feet and give to somebody who didn't have any," Kelli says with a warm smile.
It's no wonder when the position of Food Pantry Coordinator became available, Kelli offered it to Sharleane who willingly and gratefully accepted.
That's how sophomores Trinity Blanchard and Ashley Perkins from Bethany Christian School in Baker came to know Sharleane. TBS sophomores volunteer at HOPE on a regular basis.
The students worked in the Client Choice Food Pantry under the direction of Sharleane. And the students quickly came to learn how very giving Sharleane was. Above and beyond her capacity as Food Bank Coordinator. In fact, the students were so moved by just how much generosity one person could have for another, they nominated Sharleane for WAFB's Hand It On segment.
Trinity and Ashley surprised Ms. Sharleane with an unexpected visit one morning, and with our Hand It On cash gift of $300.
With tears in her eyes Sharleane humbly accepted the recognition.
"I love what I do," Sharleane choked. "I love serving others. HOPE has become a part of my life. The people here, we're not just a team – we're a family."
To learn about volunteer opportunities at the HOPE Choice Food Pantry, log onto their website: hopeworksbr.com.
And to nominate someone for WAFB's Hand It On program, simply send an e-mail to HandItOn@wafb.com. Make sure to include your phone number.