Carol Stockwell is Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services’ Live Better Community Service Award winner for the second quarter of 2020. Stockwell received the award and a $100 Visa® gift card on May 5 for her generous work as the coordinator of the Ellsworth Backpack Program through Zion Covenant Church.
For approximately four years, Stockwell has been coordinating the program. Together with Ellsworth Community School nurse Bridget Nelson, Stockwell is making certain children are receiving essential nutrition each week. The program is supported through food donation with bins set up at Nilssen’s Grocery Store, as well as financial donations. Stockwell also uses online resources to purchase food. She coordinates scheduling volunteers and oversees the stocking packing of food for qualifying students in the Ellsworth Community School District.
“Originally, students were assigned a new backpack thru the program at the beginning of each school year, and the bags were filled weekly. They typically are transported back and forth to the schools by courier and distributed to the students on Fridays so they would be assured of having enough food items through the weekend” said Stockwell. With the Safer at Home orders and school being suspended, the need for the backpack program this spring exploded. Stockwell and Nelson worked together to make changes to the program to allow more children to be served, as well as protecting the volunteers. Instead of backpacks, paper grocery bags are now filled for families. Only three volunteers wearing face masks and gloves bag groceries at one time. Families pick up the grocery bags at school or some are delivered to the students’ homes by Nelson or other school staff. “We certainly could not have done this without the enormous support and generosity of this community,” said Stockwell. “It has been amazing.”
In her spare time, Stockwell enjoys spending time with grandkids, family and friends, and crocheting, making baby afghans, afghans for family and friends, and prayer shawls for a women’s shelter. Her other avocation is making and selling maple syrup, a family operation here in Ellsworth.
“We are so pleased to recognize the excellent work Carol Stockwell is doing with the Ellsworth Backpack Program,” said Jay Nesseth, PPCS member relations manager. “Making sure that students have good, nutritional food is critical for a healthy community. She is making an important difference in our community.”
Congratulations, Carol, and thank you for truly making a difference!