CHELSEA, Vt. (WCAX) On a bone-chilling day in Chelsea, Marlene Reed is leads a bone-building class at the United Church in the village.
The ladies in the group are here to increase strength, flexibility and balance. "As we age especially, we do need to be more flexible and be more aware of our balance and strengthen our core," Reed said.
Marlene helps the class maintain their muscles -- and on this day -- exercises her vocal chords too with a song. "If I can help somebody along the way, if I can help somebody each and every day," she sang. Words with deeds as you're about to see.
The bone-building group comes in handy because right after class, Reed gets a little bit more exercise across the street at the Chelsea Public School. For close to a decade, the 75-year-old has been helping the hungry. It's a program called "Snack Pack." Filling backpacks with food for students and families in need.
"We're heading to the nurses office because this is where I get the backpacks for the program," Reed said.
School nurse Charlotte Faccio is the other half of team. She helped start the program. Reed sees just a number on the backpack, she has no idea who will get the food.
Reporter Joe Carroll: And what do you get out of it?
Marlene Reed: I get the pleasure of knowing that I'm helping to feed hungry kids.
Reed knows about family struggles. "My father had a stroke and we were just going into our senior year of high school and our mother didn't drive, she didn't work, and so times were tough," Reed said.
She and her twin sister were about to quit school to help support the family when a relative came to the rescue, helping out financially and putting the girls through college. "She was our fairy godmother. There are such things as fairy godmothers and I have always thought that. That she, just out of the goodness of her heart that did something like this for someone else that really needed it," Reed said.
Reed has been paying it forward ever since. Back at the school, nurse Faccio helps with the backpacks which will be put in the kids' cubbyholes while they are at recess.
"Looking over the paperwork that I've kept, there's been over 70 families that have benefited from this over the years," Faccio said.
A feeling of pride that can best be said in Reed's song. "If I can help somebody along the way, then my living would not be in vain," she sang. "There you have it."