Community helps Rotary clubs with Thanksgiving basket donations

  • A group of volunteers at the 2020 Thanksgiving Holiday Food Basket Donation Program distribution.

    A group of volunteers at the 2020 Thanksgiving Holiday Food Basket Donation Program distribution. Courtesy of Rich Klein Photography

Updated 11/16/2021 11:45 AM

The yearly Thanksgiving Food Basket Donation Program for in-need families has been led by the Buffalo Grove and Wheeling Rotary clubs for the last few decades. This giving effort leading into the holiday season continues to grow its reach by engaging more individuals and organizations.

Each year, the Rotary clubs purchase food boxes to be donated to local families experiencing food insecurity, who are referred by school counselors from Buffalo Grove area school districts and the police department social worker.


This year, the clubs jointly purchased 150 holiday meal boxes from the Northern Illinois Mobile Food Pantry, representing a nearly $5,000 investment in the program. Each food box contains a whole turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce, potatoes, white rice, corn, green beans and dry black beans, as well as mixed fruit, cake mix, frosting and hot cocoa.

Board games donated by the Buffalo Grove Rotary Club -- in line with Rotary's focus on literacy -- will also be given to families with school-aged children, in addition to books donated by Wheeling Rotarian Rich Rosen.

The growth of this giving program would not be possible without these key community partners:

• Garden Fresh Market, 770 S. Buffalo Grove Road, Buffalo Grove: Donated nearly $7,000 in food to be packed into additional food boxes by volunteers and given out alongside food baskets on distribution day. The grocer is also providing $20 Garden Fresh Market gift cards to each recipient family.

• The Ela Township Women's Knit Club: Donated approximately 100 hand knit baby blankets, 80 hand knit hats and 50 hand knit scarves.

• PetSmart, 20771 N. Rand Road, Kildeer: Donated dozens of stuffed animals.

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• Hillside Towing, 120 W. University Drive, Arlington Heights: Donated a lift truck to move food pallets on distribution day.

• Route 12 Rental, 1306 E. Rand Road in Arlington Heights: Donated a truck to move food.

Additional community partners and volunteers include: The Continental Restaurant, 788 S. Buffalo Grove Road, Buffalo Grove; Kolbi Pipe Marker Company, 416 Campus Drive, Arlington Heights; Buffalo Grove High School; Buffalo Grove Police Department; and the Buffalo Grove Park District.

Food boxes will be packed by Rotarians and other volunteers, including Buffalo Grove High School staff and students, and then picked up by families on the Thursday and Saturday before Thanksgiving. A number of the volunteers also speak foreign languages and will be there to greet families who need translation services.

The Buffalo Grove and Wheeling Rotary clubs thank the community for their support.

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