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Extending a helping hand, as others once did for her


June 14, 2024

LaDonna, “It feels good to be part of the community helping people.”

LaDonna, a St. Vincent de Paul — Madison donor, credits her upbringing for informing her desire to give back to her community. “I help people because there have been people that have helped me,” she said.

With her four siblings, LaDonna lived most of her childhood with her aunt and uncle. She remembers her aunt was a great cook, they always had a roof over their heads, clean clothes and full tummies. One year, her dad remarried and she and her siblings lived with him briefly. That year, LaDonna remembers going hungry as there wasn’t enough to eat; sometimes going to bed in tears from hunger pains. She and her siblings eventually moved back in with their aunt and uncle, but the memories of being hungry stuck with her.

Her childhood experiences instilled in LaDonna a deep sense of gratitude for the blessings in her life and a strong desire to help others. As an adult, she found ways to give back, supporting causes like Second Harvest Foodbank, St. Vincent de Paul — Madison and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. For her, giving isn’t just about providing food or medical care; it’s about extending a hand to those in need, just as others once did for her.

“For me, it doesn’t matter where [my support] goes, just that it helps people,” LaDonna explained. “That’s the thing that makes me feel good. It’s helping other people that don’t have what I have, the things I’ve been blessed in life to have – a roof over my head, clean clothing, food.”

Now retired, LaDonna and her husband are active with friends, good food, and travel. She admires SVdP — Madison for its full-picture approach to helping our community, from providing food and clothing to offering housing assistance and medicine.

While she doesn’t remember her initial encounter with the group, she was inspired to get more involved after hearing about the experiences her sister and brother-in-law in Phoenix had with their local Society.

“It feels good to be part of the community helping people,” LaDonna said. “I’m happy to be part of this community and it’s something I don’t really think about! Sometimes we’re cocooned in our world – happy – but don’t think about others. I’m happy to be involved!”

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