Rising Above Hardship

Sharon Daniels volunteers at Jesus In Disguise Food Pantry.

It’s a cold, wet Saturday morning, and Sharon Daniels of Benton is standing behind a white folding table taking food from a plastic tub and putting into paper bags. She’s one of more than dozen volunteers getting food ready to hand out to clients at Jesus in Disguise Pantry that operates out of a small building behind St. Denis Catholic Church in Benton. The monthly pantry is an ecumenical effort that also includes Lacroix United Methodist Church and Unity Baptist Church in Benton and St. Lawrence Catholic Church in New Hamburg.

Daniels knows firsthand how important the food is to the dozens of families who will come to the pantry on that Saturday. In addition to being a volunteer, she’s also a patron of the pantry.

“My daughter-in-law is the one who first commented to me about the pantry, but I’m kind of bull-headed,” she said and grinned. “Then I finally went a few times, and I just thought I should be helping them. I actually have never been treated any better in my life than what I am here. The people here, they make you feel welcome.”

Daniels has known hardship and heartache in her life but does her best to rise above it – even when a fire destroyed her house in July.

“I lost everything I had, and I didn’t have any insurance because I couldn’t afford it,” she said. “I had a talk with God, and he told me, ‘Don’t worry. He’s going to take care of my every need.’”

Daniels feels blessed to have found a full-time job at a hat factory in Oran after working only part-time at a cabinet company in Chaffee. In addition to volunteering at the pantry, she and her granddaughter used to collect aluminum cans and use the money to buy hygiene products to donate to the pantry.

“God took me on a journey, and I’ve been hungry,” she said. “I think that’s why God put us here — to help other people if you can.”

Daniels rises early each morning to start her day with Bible study.

“I still get the Bible study lessons from when I was in prison,” she said. “… I serve an awesome God.”

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