DPCF and local businesses serve 350 Thanksgiving dinners to residents in need

  • Pictured, from left, Rosemary Argus and her son Bob Argus; Des Plaines Community Foundation board member Chris Hassett and his sons Mathew and Alexander. The Des Plaines Community Foundation worked to provide and deliver Thanksgiving Day dinners to 350 individuals including homebound seniors and people with disabilities.

    Pictured, from left, Rosemary Argus and her son Bob Argus; Des Plaines Community Foundation board member Chris Hassett and his sons Mathew and Alexander. The Des Plaines Community Foundation worked to provide and deliver Thanksgiving Day dinners to 350 individuals including homebound seniors and people with disabilities. Courtesy of DeBat Media Inc.

  • Volunteers from left, Tim Muellemann and Tashawna Gutbe, both Sysco employees, load a car with Thanksgiving dinners to deliver to families in need.

    Volunteers from left, Tim Muellemann and Tashawna Gutbe, both Sysco employees, load a car with Thanksgiving dinners to deliver to families in need. Courtesy of DeBat Media Inc.

  • Volunteer Sysco employees, from left, Tim Muellemann, Eric McLear, Tony Jung, Lynne England and Tina Jung pose for a photo after discussing delivery routes in Des Plaines.

    Volunteer Sysco employees, from left, Tim Muellemann, Eric McLear, Tony Jung, Lynne England and Tina Jung pose for a photo after discussing delivery routes in Des Plaines. Courtesy of DeBat Media Inc.

  • Sysco employee Nino Resto and his son load Thanksgiving meals into their car for delivery.

    Sysco employee Nino Resto and his son load Thanksgiving meals into their car for delivery. Courtesy of DeBat Media Inc.

  • Sysco employees and volunteers Tim Muellemann and Josh Kackley prepare to deliver Thanksgiving Day dinners.

    Sysco employees and volunteers Tim Muellemann and Josh Kackley prepare to deliver Thanksgiving Day dinners. Courtesy of DeBat Media Inc.

 
Submitted by Aimee Lisa DeBat
Posted11/30/2021 11:48 AM

The Des Plaines Community Foundation (DPCF), Sysco Chicago and Sunrise Grill all worked together to provide and deliver Thanksgiving Day dinners. As a result, more than 350 individuals including homebound seniors and people with disabilities had a very happy Thanksgiving.

"This is our 11th year making the meals and delivering the turkey dinners," explained Rosemary Argus, executive director of the DPCF. "It's a group effort. Turkey dinners were delivered to those in wheelchairs, on oxygen and the blind, all who have difficulty leaving their homes."

 

Sunrise Grill at 1928-30 E. Touhy Ave., in Des Plaines, joined in on the Thanksgiving Day dinners. The owner Chef Jose Medina, his wife Maria, and staff donated their time and skills to help. The restaurant roasted all the turkey breasts and fixings for the dinners this year.

Sysco Chicago provided all the food including 220 pounds of turkey breasts, stuffing and sweet potatoes while volunteers packaged corn, sweet potatoes, the main entree, bread and Apple Blossom deserts.

Peet's Coffee donated more than 300 pounds of coffee, enough to put a one-pound bag in each person's dinner.

In addition to the dinner, Northwest Suburban Day Care provided handmade place mats for each meal which included handprints made into turkeys. Written on the placements was "Happy Thanksgiving."

Children from Saint Zachary created personal handmade cards wishing residents a "Happy Thanksgiving."

According to Argus, the list of people who were served dinner through the Thanksgiving Day program consisted of Des Plaines residents who requested assistance by calling the Neighbors Helping Neighbors hotline at (888) 646-8898.

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"Everyone on both the Neighbors Helping Neighbors list and the city of Des Plaines' lists were called to confirm they would be home on Thanksgiving Day and enjoyed having a cooked meal delivered," said Kathy Puetz, from the city of Des Plaines Health and Human Services division.

The GIS staff at the city's Engineering Department created route maps for the volunteer drivers. Sysco volunteers delivered meals between 10 a.m. and noon on Thanksgiving.

Lynne England, administrative assistant-sales at Sysco Chicago Inc., coordinated the Sysco driver pickup.

"We are thankful for all the Sysco volunteers and drivers which include Julie Alicea, Keith Butts, Tashawna Gutbe, Rich Jurczak, Tony and Tina Jung, Josh Kackley, Nick LaRocco, Steve Luczak, Eric McLear, Tim Muellemann, Mark Ragusi, Nino Resto, Theresa Roberts, Shawn Tortoriello and Bobby Wenger," said England.

DPCF board trustees who came to work were President Rich Holke, Kathy Puetz, Bob Argus and Chris Hassett. Brothers Mathew and Alexander Hassett helped pack the meals into travel boxes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Sysco Chicago also recently donated $15,000 to support DPCF programs. The donation was a result of Sysco Chicago's "Nourishing Neighbors" initiative for community outreach in Des Plaines.

"Nourishing Neighbors is an endeavor that directs Sysco's charitable donations primarily to local agencies working to get healthy and nutritious food where it's needed," said England. "We care for people by giving back, doing well and changing lives in our communities."

Argus said, a donation of this magnitude goes a long way to enhance DPCF programs that provide direct services to those in need.

"We are honored that Sysco Chicago chose to support the vital work we do in the community to heal and strengthen the lives of children and families," said Argus." We are fortunate to have such a support system of sponsors, friends and family that have come together to help the DPCF initiatives."

"This is a really touching program to provide for these families," said Argus. "We appreciate all the volunteers' hard work on Thanksgiving. This is one of the most satisfying things that we've done."

Neighbors Helping Neighbors delivers on about 500 requests for help from Des Plaines residents in need every year. The NHN Program links the community with information on where they can get financial assistance and where food can be received.

Every year the DPCF and Sysco Chicago work together to provide, cook and deliver Thanksgiving Day dinners. The Foundation also helps to keep the elderly living in their homes for as long as possible by cutting grass, shoveling snow and providing emergency plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning repairs as they occur.

"We want seniors to live with dignity and independence for as long as possible," said Argus.

The DPCF recently donated $24,000 to area food pantries.

"Our Foundation donates to all the local pantries as well as many of the religious organizations that provide meals during the week for the needy of Des Plaines," Argus said.

Some of the DPCF programs include; Neighbors Helping Neighbors Program committee; Healthy Community/Healthy Youth Program committee; Intergenerational Program committee; and Seasons of Service Program committee.

The Foundation has no paid employees and is 100 percent volunteer. The DPCF is a 501c3 organization and funds are obtained from individuals, businesses, and corporate tax-deductible contributions as well as from other foundations.

For information on becoming a student volunteer, visit www.desplainescommunityfoundation.org.

Future volunteers can also call Rosemary Argus at (847) 525-5566.

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