Neighbors helping neighbors: DPCF,local businesses serve 260 Thanksgiving dinners to those in need
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 260 individuals, homebound seniors and people with disabilities had a very happy Thanksgiving.
"This is our 12th year making the meals and delivering the turkey dinners," said 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 those who have difficulty leaving their homes."
Sunrise Grill, 1930 E. Touhy Ave., joined in on the Thanksgiving Day dinners. Owner Chef Jose Medina and his wife, Maria, and staff donated their time and skills to help on Thanksgiving. This is the fourth year the restaurant roasted the turkey breasts and prepared the fixings for all 260 dinners.
Sysco Chicago provided all the food, which included 220 pounds of turkey breasts, stuffing and sweet potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce, rolls with butter, apples and pumpkin pie for dessert. Volunteers delivered all the meals.
Pete's Coffee also donated 200 pounds of coffee, so every dinner bag included a pound bag.
In addition to the dinner, Northwest Suburban Day Care provided handmade place mats for each meal, which included handprints made into turkeys and written "Happy Thanksgiving" messages.
Saint Zachary's children and Chippewa Middle School and Maine West High School students created personal handmade cards wishing residents a "Happy Thanksgiving."
One of the recipients of the meal was appreciative and very touched by the card provided by the kids and gave the volunteer driver a stuffed animal to give to the child who made his card. The resident lives alone and said he kept the card because it brought so much joy to him during this holiday.
According to Argus, the long 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.
Everyone on both the Neighbors Helping Neighbors 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's Health and Human Services Division.
The city of Des Plaines Engineering Department's GIS staff created the maps of routes for the volunteer drivers. Local volunteers helped pack the meals for the Sysco volunteers, who delivered meals between 9 a.m. and noon on Thanksgiving Day.
Chloe Nottingham, administrative assistant-sales at Sysco Chicago Inc., coordinated the Sysco volunteer-driver pickup.
"We are thankful for all the Sysco volunteers and drivers, which include Julie Alicea, Bryce Burton, Keith Butts, Josh Kackley, Nick LaRocco, Steve Luczak, Tim Muellemann, Trent Nichols, Mark Ragusi, Nino Resto and Jason Utterback," said Nottingham.
The DPCF board trustees who came to work were Rich Holke, president, and Kathy Puetz, Bob Argus, Jan Goczkowski, Sandra Hansen and Barbra Reid, who helped pack the meals into travel boxes.
"We want seniors to live with dignity and independence for as long as possible," said Argus. "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."
The Des Plaines Community Foundation recently donated $30,000 to food programs.
"DPCF also granted $3,000 to Bessie's Table, $3,000 to Catholic Charities and $3,000 to Feed My Starving Children -- all of which provide weekly drive-through food dinners," said Rich Holke, DPCF president.
"The trustees also voted to fund the St. Zachary backpack project with a donation of $6,000," he said. "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."
Some of the DPCF's 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 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 on becoming a student volunteer, visit www.desplainescommunityfoundation.org or call Rosemary Argus at (847) 525-5566.