September Jefferson Award Winner: Mary Louise Resch
COLUMBIA (WACH)-Mary Louise Resch lives by this philosophy, "there's no way that someone who goes out And puts their life on the line for me and for our community should ever have to stand in line to get food."
That same philosophy helped her launch Operation HP, a hunger prevention program through Harvest Hope serves the military community.
For Resch, the project hits close to home, "having spent 9 years in the military, I realize that there are a lot of active duty military veterans and their families who are struggling."
Eleven percent of clients at Harvest Hope Food Bank are veterans.
Resch has worked for several years making sure no one who has served goes hungry.
"Just like a lot of other people in the community, this month they had to make a decision. Do I buy groceries or do I pay the rent?"
Resch says Operation HP helps take at least some of the stress off.
Case workers identify a military member or family in need and they reach out.
"we hear the stories from the case workers after they take, you know they deliver the food, there are tears of joy and relief."
Resch has brought in more than $100,000 for the Operation HP program, involving everyone from lawmakers to members of the military.
In 2016, she provided more than 5 million meals for the hungry and she doesn't plan on slowing down anytime soon.
"We don't do it for the money, if we did it for the money we'd be out in the private sector. We do it for those faces in line everyday. We do it for the children that we're able to feed."
"It's all about making the change," said Resch, "one person at a time, one day at a time."