Good News Sunday: College of DuPage culinary students cook Thanksgiving dinner for Navy recruits

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

About 50 recruits from the Great Lakes Naval Station in North Chicago, many far from home, were expected to sit down to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner Thursday prepared by culinary students from the College of DuPage.

The Thanksgiving Adopt-A-Sailor program is back after a two-year pandemic hiatus. It allows recruits a respite from boot camp, including roughly 50 or so that will be feted at Villa Park VFW Post 2801.

"This is a great way to show our thanks for the people who provide our freedoms to us," said Timothy Meyers, a chef and culinary arts professor at COD in Glen Ellyn.

Meyers is leading his first-year culinary students in preparing a traditional Thanksgiving feast for about 100 people, including the VFW volunteers. The VFW donated eight turkeys, a dozen hams, 50 pounds each of mashed and sweet potatoes, 10 pounds of stuffing and 20 pounds of green beans for the meal.

The VFW is among about 20 area organizations that were expected to join local families in hosting more than 1,300 recruits from the Navy's only boot camp.

"It's a wonderful, wonderful experience, and it's very heartwarming," said Rae Rupp Srch, who chairs the event for the VFW. "For that day, they're all family. We want them to feel like they're at home with the family."

For the full story, click here.

Lake County Model Railroad Club celebrates 50 years

  Johnny Molitor, 7, of Port Barrington watches a train roll by during the Lake County Model Railroad Club 50th anniversary open house in Wauconda. Joe Lewnard/

Children and adults were fascinated by the realism of model trains rolling past scenes during the Lake County Model Railroad Club's recent 50th anniversary open house.

In scenes depicting hilly terrain and tall trestles to Midwestern farmland and industrial settings, replicas of steam and diesel-powered powered passenger and freight trains operated by club members rolled past on the 60-by-30-foot layout as guests watched.

The club is in the basement below the Honey Hill Coffee Shop in Wauconda, and Caitlyn DeVoe was a first- time visitor to the club, even though she has worked at the coffee shop since 2008.

"I've told people about it, but it's my first time here," DeVoe said. "It's more fun when you have a kid with you."

For the full story, click here.

Oakton's Empty Bowls event will support local food pantries

Oakton Community College's annual Empty Bowls event is a fundraiser for local food pantries. For a donation, attendees can choose a handmade bowl and a lunch of soup and bread. Courtesy of Lou Pierozzi

Community members are invited to enjoy a delicious meal and take home beautifully handcrafted bowls while supporting local food pantries at Oakton Community College's upcoming Empty Bowls event.

This year's event will be on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Oakton's Des Plaines campus, 1600 E. Golf Road, in rooms 1606-1610.

Admission is free, but for a donation of just $16, participants are invited to choose and keep their favorite artwork made by local professional and student potters, watch how bowls are made from different materials, enjoy a simple lunch of soup and bread, and listen to live music.

More than 1,200 handcrafted soup bowls will be available for purchase, many of which will make a great holiday gift while supporting a great cause.

This year, 100% of event proceeds will support the following organizations: Des Plaines Self-Help Closet and Pantry, Interfaith Action of Evanston, Maine Township Food Pantry, New Trier Township Food Pantry, Niles Township Food Pantry and Northfield Township Food Pantry.

"This is a wonderful chance to acquire inexpensive and unique gifts while supporting community food charities," said Oakton Chair of Art and Design Lou Pierozzi, who also serves as an adviser for the Ceramics Club.

"Volunteers have been working year-round to prepare for this annual event."

For the full story, click here.

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