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updated: 6/4/2013 11:41 AM

What it is to be a Secret Pal?

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  • Gifts for needy seniors donated by HSP "Secret Pals"

    Gifts for needy seniors donated by HSP "Secret Pals"
    Humanitarian Service Project

Allyssa Babecki

Humanitarian Service Project (HSP), located in Carol Stream, is looking for potential secret pals for the needy seniors in the Senior Citizen Project (SCP). SCP is a program that combats hunger with seniors living in poverty in the counties of DuPage and Kane. SCP currently has 12 needy seniors without a secret pal. The secret pal program is part of SCP, which provides needy, local seniors with items they require to maintain a healthy and comfortable lifestyle. The secret pal program matches a secret pal with a senior in need to provide them with items from their wish list. The items are not expensive, usually ranging from $5-$25.

The senior's secret pal provides special small gifts on a monthly basis to put a little extra joy into the life of a struggling senior. Some examples of gifts include candles, picture frames, stamps, stationery, lotions, shower gels, crossword puzzle books, household items, puzzles, blankets, plants, and gift cards.

Every month, the seniors receive the items from their secret pal delivered to their door, along with their 100 lb. package of nutritious groceries. The seniors love the gifts and are always very appreciative of their secret pals. Often HSP receives calls of overwhelming gratitude and appreciation from the seniors of their secret pals. A commitment of 6 months is encouraged; however, some donors have been pals for 10 years. The gifts can be brought to the center monthly, containing several months' worth of gifts at a time, or can be mailed.

Karole Kettering, Executive Director and Co-founder of HSP, said of the program, "Poverty has a profoundly negative impact on the wellbeing of many needy seniors throughout our communities. The participants in our Secret Pal Program give these seniors the heartfelt service of fulfilling a practical need in their lives, as well as showing them that they truly are cared for."

SCP's goal is to provide for the basic and nutritional needs of 121 needy, local seniors. HSP does so by providing monthly deliveries of 100 lbs of groceries to each of the 121 seniors in the program which include: selections of 7 fresh fruits and 8 vegetables, 7 frozen meats, 6 bags of non-perishable foods, 2 bags of paper products (toilet paper, paper towels and facial tissue) and personal care items. The personal care items are included in their box every three months. The items include shampoo, conditioner, a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, lotion, soap, and hand sanitizer.

About The Humanitarian Service Project:

HSP's mission is to alleviate the pain and suffering that poverty creates in seniors and children living in DuPage and Kane Counties, Illinois. Last year during the Christmas Offering, 1,636 children received gifts and 150 impoverished families received three weeks of groceries, frozen meats, and fresh produce. With the Senior Citizen Project, HSP provides monthly food deliveries of 100 pounds including fresh produce, frozen meats, non-perishables, paper products and secret pal gifts to 121 low-income seniors. The Children's Birthday Project reaches the youngest underprivileged, making birthdays and Christmas truly memorable occasions for 900 children. Feed the Kids program provides 100 low-income families with groceries and fresh produce. HSP conducts an annual school supplies drive, which sends supplies to the DuPage Back to School Fair in addition to furnishing schools and individual children with necessary supplies.

Contact the Humanitarian Service Project:

HSP's website:

and HSP's blog:

HSP 465 Randy Road, Carol Stream, IL 60188.