Good News Sunday: Volunteers give back on Christmas Eve at Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg

  • The Gorman family (dad Ty, Noah, 9, mom Stacey and Grace, 12) volunteer on Christmas Eve packing food for hungry people around the world at Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg. They said they've done it the last four years on Christmas Eve.

      The Gorman family (dad Ty, Noah, 9, mom Stacey and Grace, 12) volunteer on Christmas Eve packing food for hungry people around the world at Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg. They said they've done it the last four years on Christmas Eve. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted1/2/2022 7:30 AM

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the more upbeat and inspiring stories published recently by the Daily Herald:

The spirit of giving is always in the air at Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg, but Dec. 24 felt a little different.

 

With Christmas carols filling the room with music, about 250 people, mostly families, spent their Christmas Eve filling bags with food for hungry kids around the world.

Ryan Mitchell, volunteer program supervisor, said it's not like every other day.

"I think everyone comes in a little more cheerful and joyful on Christmas Eve," he said.

Mitchell said the volunteers in each of the two Christmas Eve sessions make monetary donations, usually $50 a person or $150 for a family, which covers the cost of the ingredients they packed, in addition to donating their time.

"There's definitely a different feeling in the air," he said. "The people want to be here, they're excited to be here, they're happy to give back."

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Wauconda native Kevin Bickner competes in the U.S. Olympic ski jumping trials at the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex Saturday in Lake Placid, New York. Bickner won the event.
Wauconda native Kevin Bickner competes in the U.S. Olympic ski jumping trials at the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex Saturday in Lake Placid, New York. Bickner won the event. - Associated Press Photo/Hans Pennink
Beijing Winter Olympics will be second consecutive Games for Wauconda native Bickner

Wauconda native Kevin Bickner is heading back to the Winter Olympics.

Bickner, 25, who grew up training with the Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove, secured his spot on Team USA's ski jumping team on Christmas Day when he finished first at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Lake Placid, New York. He won the men's ski jumping trials Saturday by accumulating 257 points through two rounds, 13 ahead of Decker Dean.

The 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Beijing, will be Bickner's second consecutive Olympics after he competed in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. He finished 20th in the large hill competition in those Games.

Although there will be opportunities to qualify for the Olympics beyond Saturday's trials, Bickner was happy to guarantee his spot to the Beijing Games, which will start Feb. 4.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I'm super excited to be going back to the Olympics," Bickner said. "It has been a little bit more difficult this time around, and I knew this was going to be an important event to win to secure that spot."

For the full story, click here.

Attendees at the fifth annual "Muslims around the World" event in Naperville explore the diverse cultures in countries where Muslims reside.
Attendees at the fifth annual "Muslims around the World" event in Naperville explore the diverse cultures in countries where Muslims reside. - Courtesy of Syed Khalil Ullah
Islamic Center of Naperville hosts 'Muslims around the World' at Al-Falah Academy

More than 350 people attended the fifth annual "Muslims around the World" event, hosted by Islamic Center of Naperville's weekend school, Al-Falah Academy, on Dec. 18.

Students from Al-Falah academy represented several countries, showcasing the unique cultures within the religion, Islam. The trifolds at each booth reflected student research and artifacts, ethnic outfits along with culinary samples which were contributions from community families.

Guests were encouraged to attend and immerse themselves into an exploration of the diverse cultures in countries where Muslims reside. India, Pakistan Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Iraq, and the United States were represented at the booths.

Alzena Saleem, principal of Al-Falah Academy, said, "Five years ago, this started off as an event for the students, mainly to showcase for the students the differences between their peers. We are all Muslims, but it was an opportunity for them to see that we have diversity amongst ourselves.

Al-Falah Academy serves Naperville and its surrounding suburbs with a focus on religious education, character building and community service.

"The global Muslim community is blessed to be extremely diverse, and the purpose of the event is to highlight our diversity and celebrate it," said Naeem Hussaini, vice principal of the academy.

For the full story, click here.

Barbara Haravon, a member of St. Vincent De Paul Society who maintains the food pantry, restocks empty shelves in a building near St. Mary's Parish in Buffalo Grove after Wheeling police dropped off five big containers of donated food. 'We fed 260 families," she said.
  Barbara Haravon, a member of St. Vincent De Paul Society who maintains the food pantry, restocks empty shelves in a building near St. Mary's Parish in Buffalo Grove after Wheeling police dropped off five big containers of donated food. 'We fed 260 families," she said. - Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer
Wheeling police stop hunger with help of local grocer's patrons

Several Wheeling police officers participated Monday in their department's "Arrest Hunger" campaign to help suburban families facing food insecurity.

For the fourth straight year, Carnicerias Jimenez in Wheeling partnered with the department on the initiative. Several volunteers and Wheeling police officers picked up pallets of food Monday from the Hispanic grocery store and transported them to Our Savior Evangelical Free Church in Wheeling and St. Mary Parish in Buffalo Grove.

"We fed 260 families," said Barbara Haravon, a member of St. Vincent Society who maintains the food pantry. "People tend to come during the holidays. We were above average this year."

For the full story, click here.

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