Sharing and Caring Hands founder to receive Presidential Citizens Medal

| February 8, 2013 | 0 Comments
Mary Jo Copeland of Sharing and Caring Hands helps 7-year-old Mang Vang pick a new pair of shoes at Mary's Place in Minneapolis in this 2007 photo. (Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit)

Mary Jo Copeland of Sharing and Caring Hands helps 7-year-old Mang Vang pick a new pair of shoes at Mary’s Place in Minneapolis in this 2007 photo. (Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit)

Mary Jo Copeland, founder of Sharing and Caring Hands in Minneapolis, has been named a recipient of the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor.

“It is my distinguished honor to award these individuals the 2012 Citizens Medal for their commitment to public service,” said President Barack Obama in a White House announcement Feb. 8. “Their selflessness and courage inspire us all to look for opportunities to better serve our communities and our country.”

Copeland is one of 13 people selected from nearly 6,000 nominees to receive the honor Feb. 15 from the president at a White House ceremony.

Sharing and Caring Hands, founded by Copeland in 1985, has served as a safety net to those in the Minneapolis area by providing food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical and dental assistance. The organization assists thousands of people each month and is staffed almost entirely by volunteers.

Copeland, who currently receives no salary for her work, still greets every client entering the center and conducts intake interviews, the announcement noted.

The Citizens Medal was established in 1969 to recognize American citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens. The recipients President Obama is recognizing have had a significant impact on their communities but may not have garnered national attention, the White House said.

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