Faces of Christmas: Karen Wemett

December 24, 2013 

The basics: Karen Wemett, 60, is a health aide at Miramonte Elementary School in Clovis. She and her husband, John, have two grown children, Heather and Matthew.

What she does: When Wemett was hired at Miramonte Elementary 15 years ago, she decided to expand the school's small Thanksgiving food donation drive into a program that now feeds at least 40 low-income families each year.

Wemett collects turkeys, boxed stuffing, desserts, rice and other food from Clovis Unified employees and families to help fill cardboard boxes before Thanksgiving and Christmas break.

Why she does it: "It's something that just makes my heart feel good," she said. "I just see these poor little kids, a lot of them were on assistance for breakfast and lunch and I know they're not getting the right kind of food at home. I thought at least once a year I can help out."

The turning point: Miramonte Elementary already was collecting food for about 10 families around Thanksgiving when Wemett was hired. She thought, "Why aren't we feeding more at Christmas? I took over and made it bigger, made it expand."

Details, details: In recent years, Wemett also started collecting clothes and toys to deliver at Christmas. She partners with a local business, Grundfos Pumps, and gets toy donations from the pump company's employees.

What others say: Kathleen Freeman, Miramonte's school nurse, said Wemett does all the work to make the drive a success: "She is amazing, I just have to say it over and over because she goes way over and beyond the call of duty."

How you can help: Wemett collects food each year and is always looking for more people to help out. Email her at karenwemett@cusd.com.

-- Hannah Furfaro

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