WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 25, 2010, 10:25 AM

8 Over 80: Lakota volunteer started the local food pantry and organizes the annual Thanksgiving food baskets

Lakota, ND (WDAY TV) - You've been reading her series 8 over 80 in the Forum, now Teri Finneman, Forum Communications Multimedia Reporter, brings her stories to television. Tonight, for many people, the work of volunteers helps to make the holiday special. Teri tells us about one such volunteer in Lakota, North Dakota.

By: Teri Finneman, WDAY

When Gunny Schmidt saw hungry people, she knew she wanted to help. In 1988, she started a local food pantry to help her community. Since then, she's fed those in need and organizes the annual Thanksgiving food baskets.

MARCIA BEGLAU/ DIRECTOR NELSON COUNTY SOCIAL SERVICES: “I think they are very, very thankful to see someone like Gunny or the volunteers that she inspires to do this project.”

Earlier this week, about three dozen baskets were made so local families could enjoy the holiday.

GUNNY SCHMIDT/ FOOD PANTRY COORDINATOR: “It just gives a good feeling to know that people are going to have something for Thanksgiving and for a special day.”

Gunny has built up quite the resume of contributions to her city. When she isn't busy with the food pantry, she volunteers at the local nursing home and quilts at her church. She also still works as a substitute teacher at Lakota schools. The former farm girl said she grew up staying busy.

GUNNY SCHMIDT: “I guess I just like to do things for people, and I've been able to do it.”

And at age 86, that's doing a lot. You can see all of Teri's 8 over 80 reports online on Forum Communication’s Area Voices.