Messett is a volunteer for a local backpack food program for children in Montgomery County. Thanks to her prodding, 160,600 nutritious food items were donated to Manna Food Center during events sponsored by her employer, Sodexo. An additional 21,000 backpacks have gone to students for weekends and school breaks. Messett recently received the Hero of Everyday Life Award from the Sodexo Foundation for her work.
What motivates you?
I personally get a deep sense of satisfaction in giving. In fact I believe that in life, part of every person's base purpose is to give unto others. And part of that is stopping hunger.
What are some of the harder things you've encountered?
I had previously worked for a company who let one of the employees go. I knew her and knew her husband was going through a physical issue that cost him his job and I knew they were in trouble. I stopped by one night ... to see if they were OK. Two young kids, like [ages] 4 and 7, answered the door and they said their parent's weren't home. I saw an eviction notice and when I went in, I noticed it was cold and it was in the middle of winter. The [electricity] had been turned off and I asked if they had anything to eat and they pointed to a can on the counter ... they couldn't open it because the can opener was electric.
How about happier events?
The satisfaction of watching people volunteer for the first time -- taking them down and watching their face as they got the epiphany of how much one hour every two weeks would make a difference.
The award is a huge honor. ... It was such a shock. I don't look at myself as being a hero, I look at myself as doing something because it's the right thing to do.