Power Lifting Champion at 77


Winifred proudly models her medals as American Champion

Winifred Pristell of Baton Rouge, LA is 77 years old and lives in low-income senior housing in Northeast Seattle. She’s been receiving Home Delivery from the food bank for two years.  Winifred also currently holds the World, National and State records for single lift bench press for her age group and weight class.

As of March 2016, Winifred has been inducted in the Washington State Hall of Fame as a world record holder for weight lifting, and plans to compete at the World Powerlifting Championship in Las Vegas this fall. She trains every week, while also undergoing physical therapy for knee injuries and arthritis. Winifred raises the funds to compete from friends and by posting flyers in her gym to tell her story.

In her 40s, Winifred struggled with an unhealthy weight. “It reached the point where I felt like I was dying,” she says. She started taking walks with her daughter, eventually building up to three miles a day, and going to the gym.  She remembers seeing a woman at her gym lifting weights and saying, “I want to do that.”

When I asked how weight lifting has changed her life, she replied, “I used to be more of an introvert, and now I’m an extrovert. Lifting makes me more positive; I see things differently now.” Winifred shares that she will keep weight lifting for the rest of her life. “It’s what I live for and what I love.”

Winifred is also vocal about the importance of good nutrition in her lifestyle, which is why the food bank is so meaningful to her. Between her physical disabilities and fixed income, Winifred is unable to get around the food bank or shop at a grocery store.  “The volunteer home delivery drivers are so kind, and the food I receive is such high quality,” she says. “I look forward to it each week.”

She loves to cook using ingredients supplied by the food bank. Her favorite recent creation was a roast with vegetables. “I don’t know where in the world I’d be without the food bank. They make me feel like I am something special.”