Arlington Heights church collects food for those in need on MLK Day
In the basement of First Presbyterian Church in Arlington Heights, volunteer Michele Holifield stirred her homemade chili that would feed the less fortunate that day.
Volunteers were planning to take the food to the Red Roof and Comfort Inn hotels in Arlington Heights to feed 111 people and 24 kids who are staying at the hotels and feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the overall hardships of hunger in the suburbs.
"A lot of the food distribution is no contact, dropping the food off at the door and knocking," Holifield said.
"We have been doing this since March, so we do know a lot about the people," she said.
Upstairs at the church, melodious sounds chimed out "Let there be peace on Earth," which seemed a perfect fit on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Church volunteers gathered donated food through the church's first drive-up, drive-through food drop Monday morning. Canned goods, cereals, bottled water, mustard, ketchup and other items were destined for the Wheeling Township Food Pantry this week.
Amy Schaetzlein of Arlington Heights walked from her home near the church to drop off food donations. Denise Beihoffer of Arlington Heights stopped at the local grocery store and spent $200 to fill up the back of her car with food.
Beihoffer was greeted outside the church entrance by a swarm of volunteers like J.J. Brault, 8, of Arlington Heights, who hauled in bagged food bigger than himself, saying, "It's pretty fun."
"It is a very easy way to support our community. This is the first time I have donated to the church, although I have donated before to the food pantry," Beihoffer said. "I am praying for them, I feel for them and I do anything I can to help. I feel fortunate that I am able do that. I'm in a position that I can do that, so I do."