Volunteers give meals, pandemic supplies at Elgin drive-through
Staffing a table stacked with giveaway bags and dodging passing cars, volunteers set up shop Monday in front of the Salvation Army in Elgin to pass out food and pandemic supplies.
The drive-through event, sponsored by Meridian Health and organized by the Salvation Army Elgin Corps and state Sen. Christina Castro's office, provided 800 bags for local people in need. Each bag contained a precooked meal for two consisting of vegetable soup and apple crisp in addition to 10 disposable face masks, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer.
"I was born and raised in this neighborhood," Castro said. "I understand a lot of people in this community are the ones who need help the most."
Castro said her office was approached by Meridian, which offered to sponsor the event by paying for the catered food and supplying the masks and sanitizers. She then engaged the help of the Salvation Army for the organization's ability to reach people in need and for its Douglas Avenue location.
"If you look at some of the other events in these trying times, you see parking lots full of cars lined up with people who are hungry," Castro said. "We have 800 meals for two, so we're feeding 1,600 people. Every little bit helps for people who need help."
Terrance Wright, community relations manager for Meridian, said the company has been holding similar events in Chicago and the surrounding area for the past few weeks and will be expanding them throughout Illinois.
"People are financially struggling and many times trying to make the decision between food and PPE, so we feel this is a good way to give back to an underserved community when they need it most," Wright said.
Salvation Army Elgin Corps Capt. Rich Forney said this event was different because the food was already cooked and ready to heat, unlike the Salvation Army Saturday food giveaways, which consist of grocery items.
"This is great for seniors and any of our neighbors in need," Forney said. "We're glad to help provide."