Sharing and Caring Hands founder Mary Jo Copeland, who has been providing shelter to Minneapolis’ poorest families since 1985, is being awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor.
The medal will be awarded by President Obama in a White House ceremony next Friday.
For Copeland, this is the second time her lifetime of charitable work has been recognized by an American president. She also was the face of President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiative in the early days of his first term.
The Citizens Medal was established in 1969 to recognize American citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their fellow citizens.
Copeland is being recognized for providing food, shelter and clothing to thousands of people who come to Sharing and Caring hands each month. The shelter is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, and Copeland receives no salary for her work.
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For Copeland, 70, the second-highest civilian honor is the second recognition by a U.S. president of her lifetime of charitable work.