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Brandonite finalist in national contest

Sharon Craig, who has been working as a paid cook at Helping Hands Soup Kitchen for more than eight years, is a finalist in Shreddies’ Search for Greatness contest.

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Sharon Craig, who has been working as a paid cook at Helping Hands Soup Kitchen for more than eight years, is a finalist in Shreddies’ Search for Greatness contest.

A Brandon woman and her work with the local soup kitchen has a shot at being featured in a nationwide television commercial.

Sharon Craig, 67, has been working as a paid cook at Helping Hands Soup Kitchen for more than eight years and she has been announced as a finalist in the Search for Greatness campaign by cereal brand Shreddies.

After the campaign drew hundreds of nominees earlier this year, Craig is one of five finalists for the public to vote for as the subject of a national Shreddies commercial next year.

As a finalist, she will also receive a donation of Shreddies cereal to the local food bank.

"It’s exciting," Craig said.

"It’s a good thing because the centre will get some media attention."

Craig has been working at Helping Hands since she retired from the Bonanza Restaurant, working five days a week serving meals to Brandon’s needy.

"When you start to see the people, you start to have a bond with them," she said. She even gets called "Mom" by one regular.

She’s there by 6 a.m. every morning, she tirelessly cooks hot meals for the some 125 hundred people who come in — people with who she has deep connections, she said.

"You’re more than a cook, you’re more than a co-ordinator," she said. "We’ve become someone to them and it’s a lot of responsibility."

In all the years she has been working at Helping Hands, she said little has changed.

"I’m still seeing the same people," she said. "We have the same people all the time, that’s their home and I don’t think it will ever change. They just keep coming in day after day.

"I don’t know how you can change it, some of them are really trying to get on their feet, but it’s one step forward and two steps back and I see it on a daily basis," she said. "You really get to like the people."

Each finalist will be featured with a voting page that will include their story. The selected story will be announced on March 3 and will be told in a Shreddies' national television spot. Voters can vote once per day, and votes can be submitted until Jan. 3 by visiting searchforgoodness.ca.

Craig’s story is alongside those from Oakville, Ont., Oliver, B.C., St. Catharines, Ont., and North York, Ont.

"In September we launched the Search for Goodness because we know there are many Canadians who strive to make a positive impact on their community and deserve to be recognized," said Shreddies product manager Melissa Marchesano in a release.

"These were difficult choices to make, as there are so many genuinely good stories from across the country, but we feel that these five finalists really deserve to be singled out for their selfless commitment to their community."

» gbruce@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 23, 2013

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A Brandon woman and her work with the local soup kitchen has a shot at being featured in a nationwide television commercial.

Sharon Craig, 67, has been working as a paid cook at Helping Hands Soup Kitchen for more than eight years and she has been announced as a finalist in the Search for Greatness campaign by cereal brand Shreddies.

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A Brandon woman and her work with the local soup kitchen has a shot at being featured in a nationwide television commercial.

Sharon Craig, 67, has been working as a paid cook at Helping Hands Soup Kitchen for more than eight years and she has been announced as a finalist in the Search for Greatness campaign by cereal brand Shreddies.

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