MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a big day for one Twin Cities woman who has dedicated her life to helping others.

Mary Jo Copeland started “Sharing and Caring Hands” in Minneapolis 30 years ago. She’s being honored Friday by President Barack Obama in Washington D.C. her for all her work with the “Presidential Citizens Medal” at the White House.

Copeland is one of 18 people being honored Friday with the “Presidential Citizens Medal,” the second highest civilian award in the U.S. She was selected out of 6,000 nominations.

When she got the phone call from the White House a few months ago about being nominated, she wasn’t sure it was true. A couple of weeks ago she got confirmation it was true. although Mary Jo says she still doesn’t know who nominated her.

She has helped thousands of families in the Twin Cities get back on their feet, and she’s done it all on donations with no government assistance. Sharing and Caring Hands offers everything from housing and food to health care and transportation.

While Copeland has paid employees, she says she has never taken a salary or any money for that matter for her work. She wants it all to go to those in need. Mary Jo’s faith is a big part of her work – and her life.

“I think God has blessed me for serving. I think God is saying Mary, you are a faithful servant and I want to bring my work to the world and you will do it for me and I will,” she said.

Mary Jo has been married to her husband for 51 years and they have 12 children. She says the one thing she wants to tell the President is that she prays for him and the decisions he makes.


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