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Jefferson Award for Multiplying Good: A leader in the trenches, Sheila Goss lifts up her team of volunteers

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Posted at 4:08 PM, May 23, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — For Sheila Goss her calling is truly food for the soul.

When she saw the need to take action, Goss stepped up to fill a void.

"I would say it brings me joy, peace (and) comfort," said Goss.

She is not only a wife, a mother and a business owner, but also she runs a charity helping Hoosiers make ends meet.

Goss leads a team of volunteers that helps feed dozens of families on the southeast side of Indianapolis.

"No one is getting money or getting paid," Goss said. "We're getting that reward from just being able to help."

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A volunteer herself, Goss has run the Southeastern Church of Christ food pantry for the past eight years.

The operation has doubled in size during that time because the need has grown since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The food pantry now serves at least 60 families per week.

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Those who work along side her, like volunteer Rita Wyatt, say Goss puts her heart and soul into this mission.

"She connects again with the clients, very well," Wyatt said. "To make sure they are doing well."

Wyatt says she is in awe of all the work Goss does as a volunteer and a leader.

She uses her own time to recruit people to help the cause.

She buys food and stocks the shelves.

She applies for grant money to keep the operation running.

Goss thought we stopped in to just talk about the work it takes to run a food pantry at a time when the need is growing across central Indiana.

And we did.

But our interview took a turn she was not expecting.

We surprised Goss mid-interview with the Jefferson Award for Multiplying Good.

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The surprise brought cheers, claps and tears.

A fitting tribute, Wyatt believes, for a woman who lifts up everyone around her.

"She thinks of everybody, without expecting anything," Wyatt said.

Even following the presentation of the award, Goss remained humble.

"Like i said, we are a team and we do it together," Goss said. "Crediting her team of volunteers.

A team that knows it still has so much work to do to keep up with the pace of those in need.

A team with a humble leader in the trenches with them.