Neighbors helping neighbors: DPCF,local businesses serve 260 Thanksgiving dinners to those in need

  • Pictured, from left, are: Felipe Ospina, Sysco; Preston Mick, volunteer; Kayla Hansen, Maine West High School; Sandra Hansen, DPCF trustee, Jan Goczkowski, DPCF trustee; Matt Hansen, volunteer; Rich Holke, DPCF president; Don Argus, volunteer; Bob Argus, DPCF trustee; Kathy Puetz, Des Plaines Health and Human Services division; Debbie DuVair, volunteer; and Rosemary Argus, DPCF executive director in the front.

    Pictured, from left, are: Felipe Ospina, Sysco; Preston Mick, volunteer; Kayla Hansen, Maine West High School; Sandra Hansen, DPCF trustee, Jan Goczkowski, DPCF trustee; Matt Hansen, volunteer; Rich Holke, DPCF president; Don Argus, volunteer; Bob Argus, DPCF trustee; Kathy Puetz, Des Plaines Health and Human Services division; Debbie DuVair, volunteer; and Rosemary Argus, DPCF executive director in the front. Courtesy of Des Plaines Community Foundation

  • Des Plaines Community Foundation board member Bob Argus and his daughter, Lacey, load their car with Thanksgiving meals to deliver.

    Des Plaines Community Foundation board member Bob Argus and his daughter, Lacey, load their car with Thanksgiving meals to deliver. Courtesy of Des Plaines Community Foundation

 
 
Updated 12/5/2022 10:28 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 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.

Bryce Burton, right, regional vice president of Sysco Chicago, along with his wife, Megan, and their daughters helped deliver meals on Thanksgiving Day.
Bryce Burton, right, regional vice president of Sysco Chicago, along with his wife, Megan, and their daughters helped deliver meals on Thanksgiving Day. - Courtesy of Des Plaines Community Foundation

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.

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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.

Chef Jose Medina and his wife Maria, owners of the Sunrise Grill in Des Plaines, are pictured with their family and staff, who donated their time and skills to prepare Thanksgiving meals for the Des Plaines Community Foundation.
Chef Jose Medina and his wife Maria, owners of the Sunrise Grill in Des Plaines, are pictured with their family and staff, who donated their time and skills to prepare Thanksgiving meals for the Des Plaines Community Foundation. - Courtesy of Des Plaines Community Foundation

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."

Students at Chippewa Middle School, Maine West High School, Northwest Suburban Day Care and Saint Zachary School provided handmade place mats and cards to be included with the Des Plaines Community Foundation's Thanksgiving meals.
Students at Chippewa Middle School, Maine West High School, Northwest Suburban Day Care and Saint Zachary School provided handmade place mats and cards to be included with the Des Plaines Community Foundation's Thanksgiving meals. - Courtesy of Des Plaines Community Foundation

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.

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