ELKTON — Earlier this week a truck pulled up to Sheilagh Weinert’s Hollingsworth Manor home and unloaded 10 cases of Brawny paper towels.
“I was the lucky one,” Weinert said of the 300 rolls of “tear-a-square” towels she will give to those in need through her pantry program. “Nothing like this has ever happened to me. This is a great feeling.”
Weinert was one of the individuals recognized by the Georgia-Pacific brand for her work in the community through the Brawny Giants Initiative.
“We had over 7,700 nominations and we selected over 100 we considered Brawny Giants,” said GP Senior Director of Brand Building Katie Kolesky. “It was incredibly difficult to choose.”
It was also hard to submit the nomination according to Allen Johnson, the man who nominated Weinert for the Brawny Giants Initiative. Johnson said the online form only allowed for a paragraph to describe all Weinert does.
“I had to use my clever writing skills,” Johnson, owner of Key Lime Taxi, said Wednesday. Because of the word limit he directed the judges to Weinert’s Facebook page. “She is definitely deserving.”
Weinert has been running her food pantry from her home for awhile. When the pandemic shut down schools she started offering free bagged lunches to students in her community along with the food, hygiene and household items.
“She was saying any kid 18 or under that needs a lunch come get it for free,” Johnson said. She added breakfast to the distribution.
He discovered the Brawny campaign and asked Weinert if he could nominate her, figuring if she won those paper towels could come in handy. Two weeks later Weinert got an email saying she had been selected.
The Brawny Giants Initiative ran through mid-July. Kolesky said those nominations ran the gamut from young children to senior citizens running such community programs as providing homemade hand washing stations to the homeless to free house cleaning services for the homes of essential workers to collecting school supplies.
“We chose a good representation ... a mix of activities,” Kolesky said. It wasn’t initially established just for COVID-19 but that’s what it became, she noted.
One of the youngest recipients was Cavanaugh Bell, 7, who spent his $600 life savings to make coronavirus care packages for senior citizens in his Maryland community.
There were also winners from Newark, Del. Sisters Tilesha McFee and Tameka Mays operate the Pandemic Food Distribution Group.
Weinert continues to operate her pantry from her home, but has scaled back operations until she moves to a new location.
“I’m just taking food and hygiene items as donations right now,” Weinert said, adding she is preparing to move the pantry program into the Family Education Center located in the Hollingsworth Manor community.
Weinert will also receive a check from Georgia Pacific and will be video-taped so she can be included on the company website showing the winners of the Brawny Giants Initiative.