Hometown Hero Brings Fresh, Local Produce to Families in Need

By Melanie Chapman | mchapman@kolr10.com

Published 07/31 2014 04:37PM

Updated 07/31 2014 06:30PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A local woman received a national humanitarian award and has spent years helping the hungry in the Ozarks.

Wanda McLane's passion is helping the fight against local hunger. She does so by collecting healthy foods, fresh, locally grown produce donated by farmers, and then giving it to families in need.

“Everything is free through SHARE,” says McLane. “The food is donated to us and we take the food to the needy and to the organizations and it’s all free and all of the work is done by volunteers.”

She is the founder of SHARE, the Greater Springfield Hunger and Relief Effort. Every spring and fall, McLane hosts food drives and teaches home canning. All in an effort to feed the community

“I do what I do because it’s the right thing to do,” she says.

McLane’s inspiration in part comes from an unforgettable, sad experience 40 years ago. She suffered MS, but was undiagnosed and wheelchair bound. One day, after leaving a medical clinic, her wheelchair toppled. She was helpless.

“I had my face crushed against the concrete,” she says. “As I watched people detour around me like they were fearful of me and they had nothing to fear at that time I couldn't wipe my own nose or anything else, but they avoided me. I couldn't understand why would they avoid me, why wouldn't anybody help me, and I thought at that time if I ever regained my mobility and had the capability to help others in need. I would do that.”

Since then, McLane has found her way out of her wheelchair and is keeping her promise. Everyday she wakes up with a mission, to share and encourage any capable person to do the same.

With so many needy and hungry people in our community, McLane wants to make sure others never feel the helplessness she felt that day decades ago.

“Everyday that I'm able to get out of bed on my own, I want to do something to help somebody else because I am able to do that,” says McLane. “And I think any day that if someone is able to take care of themselves if they've got a little extra that will give someone else they ought to do it because they are that lucky they just don't realize how lucky they are.”

McLane says SHARE is constantly looking for volunteers. If you're interested you can reach out on their Facebook page.

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