POSTCARD FROM THE PANDEMIC: “I have been helping families sign up and get to food pantries to help supplement their needs.”

Linda Salem Shereda, who has lived in Preston Hollow for 20 years, is a one-woman powerhouse determined to help others. She has her own business, cares for a disabled husband, Stephen, and started a group called “Miss Linda’s Pay It Forward Dallas.” About 3,500 members exchange items and help those who are living paycheck to paycheck.

About “Miss Linda’s Pay It Forward Dallas:” Most of the members exchange things between themselves — clothes, furniture, shoes and more. My 3,500 members live paycheck to paycheck and have been hit hard by the pandemic. Many have lost their jobs and most had food insecurity before this started. I have been helping families sign up and get to food pantries to help supplement their needs. When I handed out 80 turkeys in November and posted on NextDoor for freezer space, a few neighbors made cash donations and brought food for the event. Twenty of those turkeys went out with full meals. At Christmas, a chef friend of mine offered meals to be delivered on Christmas Eve. He is a saint, and this was the second year he did this for us. Nearly 275 people asked for meals. In the beginning, I’d go pick up items and deliver them in my truck. I’ve had a lot of heart problems since then, so I try and lay off the deliveries now. But then I learned to ask others for help. I asked for beds on NextDoor and delivered 65 beds in 60 days, which was amazing.

What she’s been doing since the coronavirus: I have been collecting donations and running a pantry from my house. Several neighbors have brought boxes out of their own pantries and a few have purchased items and dropped them off. I am buying meat and distributing it, but I can’t help thousands of people. What I need most right now is food and a couple of refrigerators. I have a family of seven living out of a dorm-room style mini-fridge that I got them last week. I have a dozen families who need washers and dryers so they can stay home to do laundry. I have a dozen members looking for window AC units.

What she’s achieved: I’m up to 287 beds in three years. I do that Christmas thing. The first couple years I asked, “Do you need help with your kids for Christmas?” And I went out and bought everything for 40 or 50 kids. During the third year, I asked for toys your kids don’t use anymore. I picked up truckloads of stuff and brought it home, cleaned it up and bought new batteries. I then redistributed the toys. During the last two years, I’ve asked for angels to adopt kids.

How you can help: Join my group on Facebook. Search my name, Linda Salem Shereda. We need cash donations. Anyone who is getting rid of furniture, appliances and beds can also contact me on Facebook or via email at lindashereda@sbcglobal.net.

 

Helpers include Marianthe, who baked bread, and Kato, who is Linda Shereda’s best friend.


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