Libby Lawson, Tyson VP media and community relations; Ruth Wade, Hunger All-Star; Lynn Brantley, president and CEO, Capital Area Food Bank
Ruth Wade has made helping people in her community a life’s work. Her community involvement began in the 1950s when she taught people in need how to cook surplus food. Today Tyson Foods recognized the difference that Ruth’s volunteer work has made in the lives of families and selected Wade as the next “Hunger All-Star,” an honor that comes with a donation of more than 15 tons of protein to America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network agency. When told of her distinction and truckload of Tyson products coming to the Capital Area Food Bank, Wade thought of this gift to the food banks as a way she most wanted to celebrate her next birthday.
Ruth’s work is the perfect example of the “Hunger All-Star” program’s belief that one person can make a difference in the fight against hunger. In 1996 Ruth took over as coordinator of the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church food program, which feeds more than 100 people every month. Ruth says that her program helps to meet a tremendous social need for people in crisis. “Sometimes they come just for the hug, just for the love,” said Wade. While maintaining a ready supply of food and other resources may be a constant challenge for Wade, her contagious smile is always in abundant supply. With the energy of someone half her age, she shows little sign of giving up looking forward to serving the next hungry person who may walk through the church’s doorway.
At the awards ceremony, Ruth left us with some simple, but profound wisdom that exemplifies the humanity in her humanitarian work: “In my experience people are not only happy to get food, they are happy to be treated as people. I care about people not just because they are hungry but because they are people.”