News 8 “Pays It Forward” To Volunteer Who “Uses Her Heart”

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Inside the Colona Food Pantry, the halls are full of hands, hope, and heart. And behind the bread and boxes, a kind woman named Connie is the key to all three.

"She's the one who says - 'Just use your heart. Just use your heart' -- and that's it," says Hazel Sletten. "She means it. Use your heart."

Hazel helped start the food pantry 30 years ago, in 1982. In those three decades, she says Connie and Colona have become one in the same.

"It makes no difference what it is, what church it is... anything going on in the city, there's Connie, just the first one there," says Hazel.

So to thank her for her selfless service, News 8 - with the help of Ascentra Credit Union - is replacing the bags in Connie's hands with $300 cash.

Hazel was able to surprise her with the money in front of all the food pantry's volunteers. Stunned and surprised, Connie says she has never done this for fortune or for fame... just for her community.

"I'm just helping out other people," says Connie Yager. "That's all I'm doing. I'm in shock."

And as that shock wears off, Connie is right back to work. There's no rest for the weary... not in this world, Connie's world - Connie's community.

"I just like helping people, that's all there is to it, you know?" says Connie.

That's all there is to it... to the woman who may not have much, but still finds so much to give simply by "using her heart" to pay it forward.

"You couldn't have picked a better person," laughs Hazel. "Really, you couldn't have picked a better person."

The Colona Food Pantry relies completely on donations and its 10 volunteers. If you'd like to make a donation, you can drop one off at the Colona Township Office. For more information on the Colona Food Pantry, click here:{5A30FCA7-820F-46BA-A992-4B75A6FC61FE}

For more information on how you can “Pay It Forward” with the help of News 8 and Ascentra Credit Union, go to the top of and click on the “Contests” page.