Kallie Pleuss, a fifth-grader at LaGrange Elementary School, loves doing anything she can at Tomah’s Neighbor for Neighbor Food Pantry. She spends five days a week at the pantry, and what she likes most about her time there − other than spending time with mother and pantry manager Dawn Pleuss − is helping others.
“I just (like) helping people,” she said.
Kallie is very involved with the pantry, her mother said. The youngster does a bit of everything − helping unload trucks, cutting up boxes, guiding clients through the pantry, making copies, logging volunteer hours and more, Pleuss said.
“Doug (Staller) said we should put her on the payroll,” she said.
The pantry has been good for Kallie, Pleuss said. She said it has “opened her up.”
“I did in-home day care before, so I was always at home with her and she was so shy,” she said. “When I got this job, you can ask any of my volunteers when I started there last year if we would have said ‘boo’ to her, she would have probably crawled (away). Now she just jokes around with everybody and know everybody’s names ... She is a good help for her age, that’s for sure.”
Because of all the tasks Kallie performs at the pantry, Staller, executive director of Neighbor for Neighbor, nominated her for the Green Bay Packers Give Back Award, which she won in the youth category. The award is designed to honor volunteers who exemplify dedication, leadership, creativity and commitment to improving the communities they live in through volunteerism.
The win was a surprise to Kallie.
“(I was) shocked,” she said.
In fact the win seemed to come out of nowhere, Pleuss said, as Kallie’s nomination was kept a secret until an email about her win was received.
“We didn’t tell her, she knew nothing until we got this letter,” Pleuss said.
It was a shock to Pleuss, too, when she found out her daughter had won.
“It had been like a month, and I didn’t say anything (and then) Doug called me ... it was this email, and it brought tears to my eyes,” she said. “The only thing Doug asked is if he could tell her that he entered her into this, so grandma and her cousin Benny came in (with Kallie) after school, and were like, ‘You need to sit down,’ and she was really nervous ... and her face got 50 shades of red when we told (her).”
As a winner of the Give Back Award, Kallie and three guests will go to Lambeau Field on Nov. 17 for a recognition luncheon, which will be followed by a tour of Lambeau Field. Kallie is bringing her mother, grandmother and grandfather to Green Bay with her that day.