Heidi Hertensen Shenandoah Valley News
An Essex resident was recently recognized for her work in the community at the Iowa State Fair.
Since 1997, the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation and Cookies Food Products have selected one Iowan resident for every 10 days of the Iowa State Fair and recognized that person as Iowa of the Day. This program is intended to honor individuals who have lived in Iowa and contributed to their communities.
Essex’s Jeannine Liljedahl was presented with Iowa of the Day honors on Saturday, August 20, on the Bill Riley stage at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. According to the press release, when selecting Iowa natives from among submitted nominations, judges look for individuals who demonstrate integrity, pride, hard work and dedication to the community.
Lilliedahl was nominated because the Essex community feels she has a generous soul and a positive influence on individuals within the community, the release said. Providing food security and inclusion to the people of her community is Liljedahl’s passion, and her perseverance and work celebrate the community.
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Liljedahl said he was thrilled to find out he was nominated and won at the same time.
“I love the Iowa State Fair and it’s such an honor to represent Southwestern Iowa,” she said.
Volunteering has always been something Liljedahl has enjoyed, but after getting married she says she became more involved in community volunteer work. Food, she says, is where Liliedahl “found her vocation.”
“Everybody deserves to have food,” Liriedaal said. “I don’t know what it’s like to have no food in the cupboard. I don’t know what it feels like.”
Liljedahl said it hurts to think that someone has no food. For the past 19 years, she has volunteered in the Shenandoah community Her Food Her Pantry, serving Blanchard, Coyne, Essex, Farragut, Northboro and Shenandoah. She is now the president of Food Pantry.
Starting as a volunteer, she has contributed to the success of the Shenandoah Food Pantry. Liljedahl originally wanted to create a food pantry dedicated to Essex, but she didn’t know where to start, so she became a Shenandoah food her pantry volunteer.
She later realized that Essex didn’t need its own pantry. Because the Shenandoah pantry was well organized and had many groups of volunteers. Liljedahl credits Food Her Pantry’s success in part to a supportive community.
“I like to think we have a good name in the community,” said Liljedahl. I helped someone. Hopefully it made a little difference in their lives.”
She said you’ll meet a lot of great people as a volunteer and make friends with some clients. , last year, the pantry expanded its service, offering an area where customers can purchase free donated clothing, household items, books and other items when they pick up their food.
Liljedahl was also co-founder and director of Little Red Wagon. The company has been delivering meals to Essex home residents for nearly 20 years. She said the restaurant will prepare and pack the food in take-out containers, and she and volunteers will deliver the meals to Essex residents.
“When we started it, there were three of us and we were wondering if we could do it for a year,” says Liljedahl.
Twenty years later, Liljedahl says it was so much fun, but so much work that she had to end her Little Red Wagon service in order to continue working at the food pantry. She always felt that if she couldn’t give her all in something, it was time for her to quit.
In addition to her work in food pantries and meal service communities, Liljedahl also serves on the board of affordable housing in Southview Village. She is a Foundation member at Shenandoah Medical Center, a gift shop volunteer, and is involved with the PEO (Women’s Scholarship Organization), as well as serving on the Library Board, Rotary Club, West Central Community Action Board, and Magistrate Election. Commission, Shenandoah Book Club, and Essex Study and Service Club.
Liljedahl said he loves all the goodies at the Iowa State Fair. She also doesn’t expect to be recognized for her volunteer work, but she said, “It’s really nice to have her recognized.”
Iowa of the Day winners will receive accommodation at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown, prize money, admission to the Iowa State Fair, use of a golf cart for one day to navigate the fair grounds, and VIP parking at the fair grounds. Provided.