Heather Boone wins the USA TODAY Best of Humankind Awards Person of the Year for improving her community’s access to shelter, food
USA TODAY NETWORK Ventures staff
Pastor Heather Boone was placed in a small church in Monroe, Michigan, over a decade ago.
After three years in the community, she and her husband decided they wanted to stay in Monroe and start their own church, Oaks of Righteousness.
When they went to look at the building, a homeless man was sleeping outside the doors. The building was a warming shelter at the time.
“I was thinking, wow, I’m taking this man’s home away,” Boone said. “I don’t want to do that.”
So they kept the shelter open, and eventually Boone and her husband moved in to raise money to buy a bigger building. That grew into Oaks Village, which is now a food pantry, clothes closet, soup kitchen, free childcare center, free medical clinic and a nonprofit grocery store, in addition to the shelter.
For the kindness Boone has shown her community, she was named the USA TODAY Best of Humankind Awards Person of the Year.
“There is no one road to homelessness,” she said during the show. “These are people just like you. We are all just a few paychecks away from being in this same predicament.”
The win was announced during USA TODAY’s Best of Humankind Awards, hosted by Jenna Bush Hager, co-host of TODAY with Hoda and Jenna.