Sunshine Pantry founder Sharon Strauss received the most amazing gift and heartwarming surprise during the debut episode of “The Kelly Clarkson Show.” Not only did she get a new location for her pantry, but she also received financial support and messages of gratitude from some of the people whose lives she has touched with her generosity, compassion, and kindness.
Strauss appeared on the “Rad Human” segment of the talk show where she talked about the humble beginnings of Sunshine Pantry, a family-run food bank in Beaverton, Oregon. It started as a Club Scout canned food drive for Strauss’ son that helped a family of six survive through Christmas.
It eventually turned into a source of hope for the “children, the unemployed, the working poor, single moms, seniors on fixed incomes, as well as community institutions. It welcomes everyone with a smile and don’t turn anyone away.” Everyone who comes in is “treated with respect and kindness”.
Sunshine Pantry is a fitting name for the food bank that is committed to providing “essential nutrition and amenities to all those in need” and in “restoring dignity and instill hope”. It serves “a wide variety of ethnic groups, religions and age groups and try to provide food, clothing and household items people with diverse backgrounds can use and enjoy”. Its main focus is the family, that in hours of crisis, “no child should go to bed hungry”.
Strauss relies on donations, and often uses her own money, to stack up on food, canned goods, and clothing. Sadly, after 38 years the pantry closed due to lack of funding. It’s Strauss’ greatest fear to close the bank because she doesn’t want to see people in need suffer.
“Oh, I just love all the people who come walking through the door… I’m petrified because I know what it will be for these families who are in need,” Straus previously told Katu News.
Clarkson learned about this unfortunate loss to a great blessing to the Beaverton community so she invited Strauss to her show for a big surprise. When she heard Strauss’ plans to reopen the pantry in a new location, she rallied the help of the Beaverton community who pitched in their support and share their messages of gratitude to Strauss.
“You must have sensed my desperation…you pulled me out and hugged me and said, ‘What’d you need, you’re gonna be ok.’ The love that you shined on me that day meant more than just the food,” a single mom of two boys shared how Strauss helped her 10 years ago when she lost her job.
The community raised $20,000 to help Strauss and Clarkson also pitched in $10,000. Outside of the financial assistance, the local community pitched in to reopen the Sunshine Pantry at a new location. There’s not a dry eye in the show as everyone watched the outpouring of love and support for Strauss, who dedicates her life to providing for the needy of Beaverton.
Watch the heart-wrenching moment below:
Kelly Clarkson drops a huge surprise on food pantry owner Sharon Straus of Sunshine Pantry in Beaverton, Oregon, after she learns about the incredible work she’s been doing in her community. See the moment that totally shocked Sharon!