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updated: 11/2/2013 8:01 PM

Fox Valley businesses charitable but don't brag about it

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  • Janis and Bill Page say not enough local businesses let the public know about all the good deeds the business do.

      Janis and Bill Page say not enough local businesses let the public know about all the good deeds the business do.
    Courtesy of Bill Page

 
 

What better way for a business to promote itself than to declare it acts the same as a good citizen in the community who donates time and money to worthy causes?

It appears, however, many businesses that participate in such philanthropy don't blow their own horns to put good deeds in a spotlight.

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Bill and Janis Page discovered as much in research for their St. Charles-based MediaWerks company.

The Pages interviewed several Fox Valley businesses to see how they practice corporate social responsibility. Basically, that is the same as asking how many good deeds they perform.

"The most fascinating finding came when we asked, 'How do you communicate your good works to the public?'" Bill Page said.

Some businesses almost took offense to the question, feeling it would be "bragging" or somehow their good acts would be tarnished if they publicized them, Page said.

"Only a couple even put them on their website or Facebook page," he said.

All research shows that consumers want to do business with ethical, community-oriented businesses, Page said. In short, these businesses need to start blowing their horns loud and clear.

In this day and age, there are so many places to do that. You can pick from traditional print media, social media, or various functions and events.

Page, a former local columnist who has seen how businesses interact in their communities, said he and his wife were "bowled over" by the generosity of the businesses they surveyed. Yet, many kept these generous acts under wraps.

The bottom line? At a time when some businesses continue to struggle, it's time to jump on those positive vibes whenever possible.

It's good for the owners, employees and customers.

Visions of snowflakes: It's for a great cause -- to raise money for TriCity Family Services. But the name reminds us of what's coming as far as our weather.

Still, those who like to keep running or walking during the winter should sign up for the fifth annual Snowflake Shuffle, which the agency will host Dec. 7 at the Mill Creek Golf Club in Geneva.

Those interested in participating in this event, which has lured more runners every year, can do so on the agency website at tricityfamilyservices.org or by calling (630) 232-1070.

Taking on challenges: Speaking of TriCity Family Services, two young girls who sought help from the agency a few years ago spoke during the recent Barth Award presentation.

It reinforced what those in attendance already knew: This is an agency with a mission to turn around and save troubled lives.

The girls talked about the annual Wilderness Challenge, in which teens go into the woods for a week with adults from the agency and learn about leadership and working as a team.

After that experience, the girls said, they came home with more confidence and direction about how to deal with the ups and downs that life throws our way.

Chef and his dogs: James Roth makes what he is touting as "the best pet treats in town" from his home kitchen. Best of all, he sells them online.

But he's also planning on opening a storefront in Geneva at some point. After 20 years in culinary education and businesses, Roth said he wants to combine his two key passions -- cooking and pets.

"I'm a chef at Delnor Hospital, but I also want to make healthy treats for pets," Roth said at his booth at the recent craft show in Pottawatomie Park during the Scarecrow Festival in St. Charles.

"This is our debut, the first time we are out telling people about us," Roth said.

By the way, our dog Maddie scarfed down a sample treat. That is her way of saying she approved of the treats.

You can learn more about Roth and his business at jamesfromthekitchen.com.

An amazing feat: It's incredible that Geneva Methodist Church has been serving monthly free community suppers for four years on the third Tuesday of the month. That takes a serious amount of dedication from a lot of volunteers.

The concept of getting families together, as well as giving everyone's pocketbook a break, is not waning. Nor is the appreciation of those who attend.

Organizers Beth Kucera and Gayle Taylor said the volunteers served 700 diners in September and 640 in October.

Kilwins opening soon: The folks at Kilwins Quality Confections got back to me too late to include this in my column about all of the chocolate shops locating in Geneva.

But they have confirmed that the store in the Dodson Place retail area across the street from Little Traveler in downtown Geneva is scheduled to open in January.

If your Talk of the Town columnist were in charge of such scheduling, he would at least push for a kiosk or some sort of presence and product samplings at Geneva's Christmas Walk a month earlier.

Speaking of sweets: Even though the Daily Herald Health & Fitness section last week had a story about Halloween candy not being as devastating for a kid's health as one might think, we still couldn't make it through Halloween without a few warnings from health experts that candy adds to child obesity and diabetes.

You can probably extend that warning through the upcoming holiday season as pies and cookies take center stage.

But here's my take on this: It's not so much the holidays as it is a general lifestyle problem. By my way of thinking, nothing has contributed more to child obesity than crummy fast food, video games and cellphones.

Young kids used to play outside pretty much all day long, no matter what season. Without stopping to text someone. Do you see that happening in your neighborhoods now?

Michelle Obama didn't call her healthier lifestyle initiative "Let's Move" because she thought it was a catchy phrase. She did it because not enough kids are moving.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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