Rolling Meadows football team's food drive for Faith Community Homes a success

Rolling Meadows football team's food drive for Faith Community Homes a success

  • This was the ninth year the Rolling Meadows Mustangs carried out the food drive. Coach Matthew Mishler says the team looks forward to it and realizes that they are helping local families, including some of their classmates, in a cause bigger than themselves.

    This was the ninth year the Rolling Meadows Mustangs carried out the food drive. Coach Matthew Mishler says the team looks forward to it and realizes that they are helping local families, including some of their classmates, in a cause bigger than themselves. Courtesy of Faith Community Homes

 
Posted11/20/2019 6:00 AM

The Rolling Meadows High School football team is having a record year, making their furthest run ever into the state playoffs.

But what did they do when they ended their regular season undefeated? No, they didn't go to Disney World. They went door-to-door in the Arlington Heights and Rolling Meadows neighborhoods conducting a food drive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We do it every year after the last regular season game, win or lose," says Head Coach Matthew Mishler. "It's something that our guys look forward to every year. And every year, we try to outdo last year's haul."

Officials describe this year's haul as their largest ever, and it helps families right in their communities.

This was the ninth year the Mustang players collected food and household items for families served by the Arlington Heights-based Faith Community Homes. Its mission is to strengthen Northwest suburban families through mentoring, rental assistance and support.

Over the last 12 months, the organization has helped 23 families while they work to get back on their feet financially.

Household goods made up the majority of the drive, since these are items families cannot purchase using food stamps.
Household goods made up the majority of the drive, since these are items families cannot purchase using food stamps. - Courtesy of Faith Community Homes

"Faith Community Homes tries to help out these families with food and household goods as much as we can, so parents can put their money toward other bills," says Sarah Harte, program manager.

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The Mustangs collected household goods this year, including paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap and bathroom cleanser -- all common items families use that cannot be paid for with food stamps -- as well as some nonperishables like cereal and pasta and sauce.

Pasta and sauce are always popular items in the small food pantry housed at the offices of Faith Community Homes in Arlington Heights.
Pasta and sauce are always popular items in the small food pantry housed at the offices of Faith Community Homes in Arlington Heights. - Courtesy of Faith Community Homes

Officials with Faith Community Homes keep a small food pantry of nonperishable food and household items in their office, located at First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights. Whenever families come for meetings, they can help themselves to needed goods.

It was Trevor Drezen, a former defensive lineman for the Mustangs, who brought the idea of the food drive to Mishler back in the fall of 2011. It was Trevor's freshman year and Mishler's first year. Though Trevor graduated in 2015 and now is away at college, his idea continues to grow and help families.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I love seeing our youth become involved with charity and giving," says his mother, Jane, a vice president with Village Bank & Trust in Arlington Heights and Faith Community Homes board member.

"The youth gaining understanding and acting on the needs of low-income families in their community," she adds, "is essential to our continued growth and exposure."

Mishler stops short of crediting this year's season to his team bonding together to help others, but he knows it's a life lesson they'll take with them.

"I think that understanding that life is about something bigger than yourself translates perfectly to the game of football," Mishler says. "Football is not a selfish sport, you must do your job well for the sake of the team. It's about the team, not the individual."

Members of the Rolling Meadows High School football team went door-to-door collecting food, including cereal and household goods, for families served by Faith Community Homes.
Members of the Rolling Meadows High School football team went door-to-door collecting food, including cereal and household goods, for families served by Faith Community Homes. - Courtesy of Faith Community Homes

What the players may not know is that several of these families have children who attend Rolling Meadows High School.

"Although the football players don't know the identities of people in our program, I assure them that their generosity directly benefits some of their classmates," Harte adds. "When Faith Community Homes uses the word 'community,' we mean it."

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