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Can-A-Thon volunteer gives back, remembers when it was her family that needed help

Longtime Can-A-Thon volunteer Billena Stanley knows how life changing a little help can be.

ATLANTA — December 3 marks 11Alive's 39th annual Can-A-Thon event. 

The day is a time for the community to come together with the holidays upon us and join Publix and the Salvation Army in feeding those who need a helping hand this season. 

Longtime Can-A-Thon volunteer Billena Stanley knows just how life changing a little bit of help can be.

"A lot of folks, they see us how we are now and don't know our backstory. It took a lot," she told 11Alive's Liza Lucas. "It took the community to get me to where I am."

Stanley grew up in a family of nine, at times stretching to make ends meet. 

"My family didn't have the money to pay for a meal or pay for Christmas gifts or what have you," she explained. "The Salvation Army has helped us over the years. They've always been there for us."

It's such support that led Stanley to volunteer for Can-A-Thon for 13 years, bringing her family along to the annual event. 

Can-A-Thon became a holiday tradition, a way to kick off the season. It also was a way  Stanley and her husband helped teach their two kids the importance of giving back. 

"Each one, teach one," James Stanley Jr., Stanley's husband, said. "It's pretty much a family tradition." 

On December 3, the Stanley family will once again join more than one hundred volunteers in their efforts to help the community and ease the burden for local families. 

"We have to remember those families that are out there and need our help," Stanley said. "You just don't know how much that will bring into the next person's life."

For more information on Can-A-Thon, visit our website.

I had a GREAT Saturday spending time with Billena Stanley’s beautiful family. Billena is a longtime volunteer with...

Posted by Liza Lucas 11Alive on Monday, November 22, 2021

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