Remember the column a few weeks ago about the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry? In it we explored the volunteer process: what it takes to be a part of it and of what it takes to maintain it. As many of you know, food donations play a large part in keeping groups like this around to assist those in need. Glenn Scott and the Kiwanis of Glen Ellyn (KGE) have decided to champion this cause and claim some ownership in making it happen.
Scott, president of the Kiwanis of Glen Ellyn, explained, “This began as a part of Kiwanis One Day. That’s a program where Kiwanis groups, and the clubs they sponsor, all across the world do community service projects on the same day, or close to it."
In the true spirit of the One Day program, the KGE is not the only group taking the bull by the horns on supporting the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry. KGE also encourages our youth to get involved in volunteering and supporting our community. Because of this, the Glenbard South Key Club, Glenbard West Key Club, WDSRA (Western DuPage Special Recreation Association) Aktion Club, and the Glen Crest Builder’s Club will be joining KGE in its efforts to support the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry. Kiwanis sponsors each of these clubs, touching the hearts of children ranging from middle school through high school and including those with special needs.
The groups will be meeting at four locations on Saturday, April 2 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Group members will be seen handing out flyers to store patrons listing items the food pantry is in the most need of. This will assist donors in purchasing useful items to drop-off with volunteers on their way back out of the store. All donations collected will be divided between our very own food pantry and the Milton Township Food Pantry.
The three places these volunteers will be found are the Jewel at Roosevelt Road and Park Boulevard, Dominick’s in the Baker Hill Shopping Center, McChesney & Miller, on Crescent Boulevard, and with the help of Central DuPage Kiwanis they’ve added the Jewel at Schmale and Geneva Road in Wheaton. KGE is grateful for the assistance of the Central DuPage Kiwanis and adding the location; the past three years the group has only been able to cover three locations.
“In the past we’ve only been able to collect between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., so this year we’ve added an additional two hours,” Scott said. "Hopefully this will help people who want to donate be able to make it in time."
Throughout the day, volunteers will be making random drop-offs of food to both of the local pantries. Neither is usually open on Saturdays, but both were so grateful for the assistance that they opened their doors to receive the donations.
Scott advised, “We usually make six to eight runs per pantry, but this year we’re hoping for more. Over the last four years the need for this kind of assistance has equaled what it was for multiple years combined previously.”
According to Scott, they collect an average of $800-$1,000 of items per drive. This includes a lot of food, but also other items that beneficiaries may need, such as toiletries.
That’s the reason the group increased the frequency of this event as well. In addition to the food drive in April, for the last three years they’ve also added one in late August/early September.
Scott noted an additional benefit to the group's efforts:
“While we were doing this, it dawned on us that we were not only donating and collecting donations, but also increasing the awareness about this need in the community. We think it’s a really great project. We feel good about it because it’s fulfilling a very clear and definite need,” he said.
Another new addition this year: home pick up.
“If anyone would like to donate, but can’t make it to any of the locations, we’ll be available to come pick up their donations at their homes,” said Scott, “They can call me on my cell phone at 312-318-7983 and we’ll send someone over to pick it up!”
Reach into your cabinets, or grab the extra pancake mix on your weekend shopping excursions and help out the Kiwanis, their sponsored group, and both food pantries tomorrow!