Good News Sunday: Vernon Hills woman runs a food pantry out of her garage

  • Sue Gandhi helps Paul Barney with several bags of groceries he helps deliver every Monday from her food pantry in her Vernon Hills garage. "You can see the change in their eyes just from receiving something," he says of the clients to whom he delivers.

      Sue Gandhi helps Paul Barney with several bags of groceries he helps deliver every Monday from her food pantry in her Vernon Hills garage. "You can see the change in their eyes just from receiving something," he says of the clients to whom he delivers. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted3/6/2022 7:00 AM

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

The unlikely headquarters of an enduring weekly source of fresh food, household supplies and hope for as many as 200 families is tucked away in a comfortable neighborhood of townhouses in Vernon Hills.

 

With rare exception, Sue Gandhi long ago stopped parking the family car in the garage. The space had become filled with food, crates, shelving, cabinets, refrigerators and other items for Sue's Pantry.

The idea is to make a difference in people's lives and help them navigate daily struggles, she says.

"We have a moral obligation to help our fellow man, no matter who they might be," Gandhi said.

Depending on the circumstance, Gandhi provides cleaning products, supplies such as toiletries or diapers, and even money to pay for rent, a utility bill or car repair so the recipient can use their meager resources elsewhere.

"It doesn't just relate to food. There are so many layers. We have PTSD, we have anxiety, we have depression," she added.

"You won't meet a more selfless individual than Sue Gandhi," said Vernon Hills village Trustee Craig Takaoka, who nominated her for the village's Outstanding Citizen Award. Presented last November, the award is in appreciation for Gandhi's "outstanding display of community caretaking."

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For the full story, click here.

Owner of Italian deli near Schaumburg makes it homemade

Fino D'Agostaro, owner of Finuccio and Sons Italian Deli and Catering in Schaumburg, is a first-generation Italian-American who makes everything from scratch and uses his family's traditional recipes. The deli will be expanding into the space next door soon.
  Fino D'Agostaro, owner of Finuccio and Sons Italian Deli and Catering in Schaumburg, is a first-generation Italian-American who makes everything from scratch and uses his family's traditional recipes. The deli will be expanding into the space next door soon. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Fino D'Agostaro is proud to say that his Italian deli and catering business just outside Schaumburg is old school, in the best sense of the word.

In fact, there should be more eateries like his, he says: family owned, dedicated to making things from scratch, and full of heart.

"These places have gone away because the grocery stores have taken over and they ruined it. They ruined the homemade," he said. "To call something homemade, you have to make it."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Finuccio and Sons Italian Deli and Catering opened in January 2020 at 1612 E. Algonquin Road in unincorporated Cook County. After surviving the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the deli is slated to expand with a grocery store offering specialty Italian foods, beer and wine.

D'Agostaro grew up in Palos Park and moved to Palatine in 2003. His father owned the now-closed Jaguar dealership in town, where D'Agostaro worked for about 20 years doing everything from washing cars to helping manage the business.

When the dealership closed in 2017, D'Agostaro had to find a new path for himself. "I was in my 40s and I had to decide what to do."

His goal became to open an Italian deli and grocery store, drawing from a lifetime in the kitchen alongside family.

Before opening his business, D'Agostaro tested its viability by offering catering from his Palatine home. The whole family -- including his wife Stacy and their sons -- got to work to prep and cook the catered dishes.

"My wife was integral. I couldn't have done it without them (Stacy and the boys)," he said, adding his parents also were supportive.

For the full story, click here.

Algonquin student raises $3,300 for D300 Food Pantry

Leo Bonilla, a second grader at Neubert Elementary School in Algonquin, has hosted social media fundraisers benefiting the D300 Food Pantry for the last two years, raising $3,300.
Leo Bonilla, a second grader at Neubert Elementary School in Algonquin, has hosted social media fundraisers benefiting the D300 Food Pantry for the last two years, raising $3,300. - Courtesy of D300 Food Pantry

Leo Bonilla, a second grader at Neubert Elementary School in Algonquin, has become a "Hunger Hero" after he raised $3,300 for the District 300 Food Pantry in Carpentersville by hosting social media fundraisers for the last two years.

Leo sprung into action in late 2020 after seeing a news video of people waiting in long lines. When his mother explained that the people in line were waiting for food, the Algonquin boy wanted to help.

"He held up his bag of change and said, 'I'm going to donate 22 of my own dollars,'" his mother, Casey recalled, adding he then asked others to join in to help.

Eventually, Casey and Leo created a video with Leo asking people to support the D300 Food Pantry.

That first fundraising campaign in late 2020 was open for 10 days and raised $1,700. With $36 saved in his change jar a year later, Leo embarked on his second annual fundraiser for the food pantry and raised $1,600 late last year.

For the full story, click here.

• Good News Sunday will run each weekend. Please visit dailyherald.com/newsletters to sign up for our Good News Sunday newsletter.

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