Cheryl Ann Hurst has been an active member of the Federal Way community for nearly 20 years, and despite not living here she is well known by many.
Hurst said she didn’t get interested in volunteering until her youngest daughter decided to volunteer during the holidays.
Cut to 22 years later, volunteering is a big part of her life.
So big, in fact, she officially has her own nonprofit organization as of February 2018 after some urging from people around her.
“People told me ‘You do so much volunteering, you do all this stuff, why not just form your own non-profit?’” Hurst said.
Her organization, “Do The Right Thing,” has two main volunteer events: The March of Diapers and Paving the Way.
Hurst started March of Diapers in 2014 after seeing how low-stocked some food banks and women’s shelters were on infant care products, mainly diapers.
So she started asking for help collecting diapers for families and shelters in need.
“Everyone has a time in their life where they wished someone would help them,” she said.
Hurst has done a lot of work with CareNet, a local faith-based organization that provides baby clothing and necessities as well as ultrasounds and other medical needs.
Ben Edwards, director of development, has worked with Hurst for March of Diapers for about four years now and admires her dedication to helping others.
“When we have mothers coming to us looking for diapers or food or clothing for the baby, she has just been amazing, instrumental,” Edwards said.
For the most recent March of Diapers drive, Hurst’s organization raised 68,000 single diapers and 40,000 wipes to donate to families in need.
“She just loves helping the community.” He said, “Her main focus is the community, and she just does an incredible job with that. I can’t say enough great things about her.”
Edwards remembers how energetic Hurst was when he first met her.
“It was amazing how she helped connect the dots, helped connect other organizations together,” he said.
Hurst said she doesn’t want the focus to only be on her volunteer work while there are so many other projects that need volunteers too.
Hurst is a quiet leader, Edwards said.
“She doesn’t want to blow her own horn. She just loves what she does,” he said.
In all the years Hurst has been volunteering, she’s made quite a name for herself.
“I’m kind of known as the trash lady,” she said. “I always do community trash pick-ups.”
The other main event her organization focuses on, Paving the Way, helps juniors and seniors in the Federal Way School District who want to attend a Running Start program but are unable to due to financial barriers. These students are usually living just over the poverty line and are unable to receive state help because of it.
Paving the Way gives six students in the district $225 per month toward their Running Start expenses.
To raise money for this program, Hurst partnered with Billy McHale’s and Taste of Federal Way for fundraisers as well as received an award from South King Fire & Rescue to help with the costs.
“We have, at this point I would say four, five, six different entities that are actually going to be supporting the scholars by being a one-month sponsor,” she said.
This means that one of the students would receive a check from the sponsor for $225 that month and a card with information about the sponsor so the students can send thank-you notes if they choose, Hurst said.
Hurst currently resides in unincorporated King County.