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2022 JEFFERSON AWARDS: Sherry Bandy -The Connector

Sherry Bandy is "Multiplying Good" by connecting customers with clothes, household items and more - all for free.

BURLINGTON, Iowa — All over our area, there are people who are not just doing good - but "Multiplying Good."

Every year, we honor them with the Jefferson Awards - a nationwide foundation that celebrates amazing acts of public service. 2022 is WQAD News 8's 8th Season of being a Jefferson Awards Media Partner, sponsored locally by Genesis Health System and Tyson Foods.

From Feb. 1 through March 22, News 8's Angie Sharp is introducing you to this year's nominees. To see all of our Jefferson Awards Nominees, past and present, click here.

2022 Jefferson Awards: Sherry Bandy

There is a place to shop in Burlington, Iowa that is more than a store. It's a safe haven for its customers… and its owner, Sherry Bandy.

Bandy opened Donation Connection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Located at 3138 Sunnyside Avenue, she is a bright spot for her customers. Inside the building are racks of clothes, display cases of household items and more - and it's all offered for free. 

"We ask that if you have change, or $1, or whatever, to put it in our donation box," she explained during our visit with her. "It helps keep the doors open, pays the rent, the trash, the lights and gas here. And if you don't have it, you catch us next time. We are here to help people as much as we can."

She is helping the community, because the community helped her. Nearly 30 years ago, DHS took her children away from her as she struggled with a drug and alcohol addiction. She later reunited with them after going through rehab, but she told us the journey was not easy:

"When I needed help, there was nothing," she said. "There was nothing back in the 90s, early 90s. We had nothing. I had nothing. I was sleeping in a car. Sometimes cars that I didn't even know who they belong to."

As she put her life back together, she remembered the lack of resources available to her back in the 1990s. She started setting up tables in her front yard filled with donations. Fast forward to today, those tables transformed into a storefront - where she estimates she's helping between 50 and 100 customers every week. 

"This is needed. Without this place, there's gonna be a lot of people in bad situations."

Bandy calls Donation Connection her life and her heart. She is "Multiplying Good" through her selfless acts of public service - which is why WQAD is honored to recognize her as one of our 2022 Jefferson Awards Nominees.

To see her entire interview with News 8's Angie Sharp, click below:

Watch more stories like this on News 8's YouTube channel

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