10 Who Make a Difference - Women's Leadership Initiative - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

10 Who Make a Difference - Women's Leadership Initiative

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AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) -

They make sure students in Mower County aren't going hungry, and have the basic needs to succeed. Members of Women's Leadership Initiative of Mower County will be honored next week as one of "10 Who Make a Difference."

The Women's Leadership Initiative is made up of dozens of volunteers, from all walks of life, who get together to help schools in Austin and other districts, including Le Roy, Southland, Lyle, and Grand Meadow.

Each year, the women pack bags of food for hundreds of children in struggling families. They also help maintain care closets in various schools that provide students with clothing, shampoo, toothbrushes and other basic need items.

"We're big advocates of education, and we want to see children be able to get the best education they can," said Stacy Edland, chair of the Women's Leadership Initiative Steering Committee. "But we know if they're tummies aren't full or if they're feet are cold or they have unhealthy teeth, for instance, it can really impact their ability to learn."

"A lot of us are moms and know the importance of making sure your child is well taken care of and provided for," said Emily Harris, who will succeed Edland as chair of the steering committee. "So just having the opportunity to help other children in need here in the Mower County area is very rewarding."

The Women's Leadership Initiative was formed in 2011.

It is one of 10 groups / individuals being highlighted by KTTC and the United Way of Olmsted County for their community service. They will be honored during the 23rd annual "10 Who Make a Difference" award ceremony next Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at the main stage of Rochesterfest.

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