RHINELANDER (WAOW) -- Newsline 9 is proud to recognize people in the community who make a difference with a Jefferson Award. The award was established in 1972. It recognizes businesses, schools, and individuals who answer the call to action for volunteers. The Jefferson Award Winner for the month of August is Mary Monk from Rhinelander.
Every Friday, Mary monk starts her day the same.
"We come in about 10:00 a.m. and we do grocery shopping if we need to. We prepare food with chopping vegetables and cooking meat," said Monk.
It's all part of the program Meals for the Hungry at the Hope Center in Rhinelander. Monk and other members of the community come together to cook a balanced meal for those less fortunate.
"We always make sure there's meat, and vegetables, grain and dairy," said Monk.
Running solely on donations, the program started as a holiday meal, and has grown to a weekly tradition.
"After the first meal we said we're doing this weekly until the money's gone and here we are almost three years later and still going," said Monk.
But Monk says the free dinner is just one reason why people show up.
"We really encourage people to come, not only people who need the food, but we have some people who come who need the companionship," said Monk.
Amber Schmidt has visited the center for nearly two years, and says it helps her and her family get by.
"Especially when sometimes you're working on 200 dollars in food stamps to feed four people it helps a lot," said Schmidt.
She said she nominated Mary for a Jefferson award, because of her selflessness and determination to help others.
"She helps so many people. She might not know it but she does," said Schmidt.
Mary said this program has a special meaning.
"There were times when we needed the help growing up and there was always somebody there who was willing to feed us and to me it's giving back," said Monk.
And that's why Mary Monk, is this month's Jefferson Award Winner.
"I'm proud of the program and I'm proud to be a part of it," said Monk.
Online Reporter: Courtney Fasano