JoAnn Sewell, Washington Woman, Finds New Life With Volunteering After Husband's Death

06/03/2010 12:50 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Two years ago, Washington woman JoAnn Sewell was mourning the death of her husband, at loss for how to move on.

"For about a year, I just sat around feeling sorry for myself," Sewell said. "My blood pressure went up, my weight went up, my health started going downhill, and I just decided I had to get out of the house and start doing something."

Responding to an ad in a local newspaper, Sewell began volunteering at the Marysville Community Food Bank. The Daily Herald reports, through her volunteer work, Sewell found a new passion and a way to cope with her grief.

Now, Sewell spends almost every day at the food bank, helping to coordinate other volunteers and inspire them with daily quotes she writes on a white board. She has also helped start the Giving Gardens program, encouraging local farmers and gardeners to donate extra produce to the organization.

In April, Sewell was honored by the organization as 'Volunteer of the Year.' A plaque will hang in her honor on the walls of the food bank.

Sewell looks forward to continuing her work with the food bank and hopes to help the organization implement a gleaning program to collect fruit from local trees to supply the food bank's shelves.

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