Mt. Pleasant Food Pantry lands top honors

| Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

Mt. Pleasant Food Pantry director Michele Sechrist received a great surprise when she was informed that the facility was named “Agency of the Year” at the recent Westmoreland County Food Bank recognition luncheon.

“I was shocked, absolutely shocked,” Sechrist said, adding that the award was to be a surprise at the lunch, which she was unable to attend at the last minute. “I felt bad when I heard that they had a big speech ready and a presentation.”

Sechrist was given the award at the regular monthly food distribution.

“Nominations were taken for consideration, and then they were voted on,” WCFB outreach coordinator Clarissa Amond said, adding that Sechrist's pantry was selected from the 47 throughout the county.

“This pantry is always well-organized and well-run, and they always have their paperwork in and their information ready,” Amond said.

The Mt. Pleasant pantry also recently held a two-day food drive at the Summit Ridge Wal-Mart store and passed their goal by several hundred pounds of food.

To mark the occasion, Amond agreed to take a pie in the face.

“For our last drive, I said that if we got 1,000 pounds of food, that I would take a pie in the face. And I did,” Sechrist said. “So for this one, she (Amond) said that she would if we got over 2,000 pounds of food.”

The two-day drive gathered 2,342 pounds of food and more than $2,000 in monetary donations.

“The people of Mt. Pleasant went above and beyond,” Sechrist said. “I was so thrilled to see so many people give to the pantry. It was just awesome and amazing.”

Amond was a good sport about the pie, too, laughing as she stood onstage to receive her pie in the face.

“Michele is an amazing person, and the people of this area are amazing, so I was glad to receive the pie,” Amond said. “For this last food drive, they went up over 100 percent in donations, which is incredible. We had people coming up to us, asking us what we needed and saying, ‘How can I help?' before we even had a chance to ask them. It was just unbelievable.”

Amond added that she was happy to see Sechrist receive the special recognition for the pantry.

“Michele is just amazing,” Amond said. “She is sweet and has a big heart and is just a wonderful, nice person. We are so thrilled to have her helping us fight hunger.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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