Jefferson Award Winner, January 2017: Lynne Toseff

MADISON (WKOW) — For more than 30 years, Lynne Toseff has been volunteering in many different ways for her community.

Every week, you can find her at the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry, where she’s been helping out for the past 10 years.

"You just feel welcome and feel good about coming to ask for help," says client Michelle Melchor. "There’s no judgement here."

Michelle has been coming to the pantry for seven years to feed her five children and volunteers like Lynne have been vital to their survival.

"We love them a lot," says Michelle.

"I try to emphasize that this food is always here," says Lynne. "Save your money for emergencies so that if you do get behind in anything, then you have that backup money. Don’t let your pride get in the way of using what’s here, because that’s what we’re here for."

Lynne has also been there for the Girl Scouts for 35 years.

She started as a troupe leader when her daughters were in scouts and has been mentoring girls ever since.

But her volunteer work doesn’t stop there.

For 15 years, she’s been helping families escape homelessness, through The Road Home.

"I’m on the events committee with that group. I help coordinate the fundraiser breakfast once a year and we have another program called Families Moving Forward."

Lynne often spends a couple nights a week in shelters with the families.

"I like to give them continuity, so they know the next night they’re gonna see me again."

"Through Lynne’s decades of service, many lessons have been learned.

"This morning I think I heard ten stories that are unbelievable the hard time people are going through. You think, ‘Man. I would’ve been down on the ground crying and kicking my feet.’ But, people just keep going."

And so does Lynne, to share the fortune she feels in her own life.

"I just feel like I’m really lucky. I have a good family. I have good friends. Everybody doesn’t have that."

Lynne was also given a Volunteer of the Year award by St. Vinnie’s last year.

She says she accepts both that and the Jefferson Award on behalf of all the volunteers who give so much of their time helping others.

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