Unsung pandemic hero in Albany being recognized for food drive work

ALBANY – This week, people will be singing the praises of one of the unsung heroes of the pandemic. She’s a local woman who saw dozens of families in need and made it her mission to help them.

Jenna Pullis-Sayles works at Northern Rivers – Neil Hellman School in Albany. She saw students were going home to empty cupboards.

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She’s being recognized for the way she responded, which provided more than just food for the soul.
Pullis-Sayles is the vocational coordinator at the school, where they offer special education services to students with very special needs.

However, at the height of the pandemic, she took on a different role, food drive coordinator.

"There was a significant need beyond what I could have imagined," said Pullis-Sayles.

Many students relied on the meals they got at school. When the campus closed, she knew there would be empty bellies at home.

"I was personally impacted by several families and the calls that they made with how many children they have at home, the jobs that they have lost, the empty cupboards," said Pullis-Sayles.

She already coordinated a food for home program that provided about 12 families with the basics once a week. However, the need increased more than 500%.

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Learn about how her efforts to help are now expanding, and the big award she’s receiving for her hard work by watching the video of Jerry Gretzinger’s story.