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Mary Jo Copeland to receive Citizens Medal from Obama

The long-time head of Sharing and Caring Hands will receive the Presidential Citizens Medal.

WASHINGTON — Mary Jo Copeland, the founder of Minneapolis’ Sharing and Caring Hands, will receive the Presidential Citizens Medal at the White House next week.

Copeland is one of 13 Citizens Metal recipients, chosen from a pool of more than 6,000, according to the White House. The award, established in 1969, is the second-highest civilian honor given out by the White House, after the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Here’s the White House’s description of Copeland’s work:

Copeland founded Sharing and Caring Hands in 1985, which has served as a safety net to those in the Minneapolis area through the provision of food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical and dental assistance.  Sharing and Caring Hands assists thousands of people a month, and is staffed almost entirely by volunteers. Copeland, who currently receives no salary for her work, has served as its director since its opening and still greets every client entering the center and conducts intake interviews.

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More info on this year’s other recipients can be found here.

Devin Henry can be reached at