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Hometown Hero | Katie Riedel

Published: Jul. 10, 2021 at 8:23 AM EDT
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PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Katie Riedel has seen the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to give back to the community.

In the height of the pandemic last year, Riedel took it upon herself to start filling blessing boxes around the area.

“People were in time of need because they were laid off work, they didn’t have money, and things were getting tight. So I felt the need to go out and start filling blessing boxes,” Riedel said.

Her inspiration comes from a continued desire to assist the homeless population, which became difficult when shelters stopped accepting donations due to COVID.

“Homelessness started becoming a thing that was really close to my heart; it always has been but mainly through COVID because those people didn’t have the resources to get the things they needed,” stated Riedel.

Her persistent motivation is driven by the fact that the boxes hardly ever stay full.

“Every week I come by, usually it’s every once a week I drive by, and they’re empty, and I know - that lets me know - that people are benefitting from them,” she said.

Riedel buys all the items with her own money but also gladly accepts and appreciates donations as well.

Plus, there is more to her giving than just filling boxes. Riedel has also made hygiene kits for the homeless and blankets for chemotherapy patients, all while working as a full-time nurse.

I felt that they don’t have enough volunteers because COVID took those away to make those blankets, so any way I could help by wanting to get into there and help,” said Riedel.

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