THE JEFFERSON AWARDS: Our October winner helps feed people in need

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Every month, FOX 47 features someone in our community who is making a difference and we honor them with a Jefferson Award.

Our October winner has spent more than three decades helping reduce hunger in our community.

From stocking shelves to managing mountains of data, Char Ellefson has done it all at Channel One Regional Food Bank.

She’s been volunteering there for 35 years.

“I feel I’ve been really blessed in my life and I wanted to give back to the community,” Ellefson said.

She’s become the go-to person at Channel One, a mentor and teacher to others.

“I volunteered down in Stewartville when they were packing boxes down there for delivery, I’ve done inventory back in the day when you had to do inventory by hand and there weren’t computers,” she explained. “I worked in the emergency food shelf and I’ve worked in the regular food shelf.”

“To have a volunteer that knows the organization so well and that you can absolutely trust is just invaluable,” said Virginia Merritt, Channel One Regional Food Bank Executive Director.

Staff at Channel One rely on volunteers like Ellefson to keep things running.

And that’s important in Rochester, where hunger is more prevalent than people might realize.

“As the cost of living in Rochester and the surrounding area rises for things like housing, those food budgets get crunched,” said Merritt. “So we know that families are having trouble making ends meet and we know that they’re coming to us because despite being working families doing all they can do to support themselves they’re still hungry.”

That’s why Char plans to keep helping Channel One for as long as she can.

“As long as I’m able to, and as long as they’ll have me.”

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