Des Plaines Community Foundation donates $30,000 to local charities
The Des Plaines Community Foundation recently donated $30,000 to local food pantries and charities this September for the holidays. The donations were split between seven area food pantries, charity organizations and the St. Zachary Backpack Project for school kids.
According to Rosemary Argus, executive director of the DPCF, the Des Plaines Community board of trustees voted unanimously to distribute $30,000 to the needy of Des Plaines.
"The trustees voted to fund the St. Zachary Backpack Project with a donation of $6,000," said Argus. "We have funded them in the past and the money feeds approximately 30 students from Orchard School District 62 (K-five) and St. Zachary's (K-eight) in Des Plaines."
"A group of 35 parishioners from St. Zachary's Church fills the backpacks with food on weekends for the students from Orchard School and St. Zachary's in Des Plaines," said Diane Rabicke, chairman of the Backpack Project program. "In addition to the DPCF's donation of $6,000, we have another $6,250 donation of food and money from St. Zachary's parish."
The St. Zachary volunteers include five teams of seven volunteers that pack the meals in backpacks for the kids to take home over the weekends during the school year.
Backpacks are filled and ready for Fridays and empty backpacks are picked up on Mondays. The staple food items include soup, macaroni and cheese, chili, Spaghetti-O's, white rice and beans, peanut butter and jelly, milk and juice boxes.
The principals of both schools have identified the low-income students who need the food on the weekends, said Rabicke.
"The principals say students are more alert, more ready for learning after having food for the weekend," said Rabicke.
According to Argus, the DPCF also donated three, $5,000 checks to local pantries, including Debra Walusiak, Self Help Closet & Pantry; Karen Dimond, supervisor at Maine Township Food Pantry; and George Busse, supervisor at Elk Grove Township Food Pantry.
"With these donations, the pantries will be able to use the money to purchase what items are needed to stock their shelves for the holidays," said Argus. "Families are experiencing a much greater need right now and rely on local pantries to make ends meet. During these inflated economic times, the cost to feed a family is very high."
The DPCF has also sent three donation checks of $3,000 to Catholic Charities, Bessie's Table and Feed My Sheep, said Rich Holke, president of the DPCF and United Airlines manager of Digital Care Experience.
"These Des Plaines charities all held weekly dinners for the needy, but now, because of the pandemic, are distributing meals to the poor in Des Plaines," Holke said.
The need for nutritious food for some families grows in the colder months and during the school year, especially for children who normally receive free and reduced lunches at school.
"During these hard times, all food pantries are pressed for help," said Holke. "People are struggling in this economy, and food pantries are a very necessary and important factor to some residents' lives. The DPCF is happy to help improve the lives of Des Plaines residents."
According to Nick Kanehl, director at the Maine Township Food Pantry, the donation is very much appreciated.
"We are averaging about 170 residents a month that come to get food from our pantry," he said. "That number does fluctuate, but that was what we provided during this holiday season."
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 DPCF has no paid employees and is 100 percent volunteer. The foundation is a 501(c)3 organization and funds are obtained from individuals, businesses and corporate tax-deductible contributions, as well as from other foundations.
For information or to donate, visit www.desplainescommunityfoundation.org or call Rosemary Argus at (847) 525-5566.