Once again our two communities reached out to help the less fortunate this past holiday season. In spite of great demands on everyone’s financial resources, more than 350 individuals, families, businesses, congregations, schools, governmental groups and other organizations provided gifts to make the holidays memorable for 846 local families (over 2,100 people) referred to the Holiday Food and Gift Basket Program.

Our two community newspapers, Wednesday Journal and Oak Leaves/Forest Leaves, gave us great publicity, and their staff members also sponsored families. The financial support of Youth Services of Oak Park and River Forest Townships was crucial, and the delivery site provided by United Lutheran Church was invaluable. Office space was provided by River Forest Township Supervisor Veronica Krawczyk and the staff of the River Forest Community Center-Dick Chappell, Ron Humphrey, Jessica Conrad, Jane Brennan, Joyce Linton, Sandy Ransom, Leticia Lira, Karen Byczek, Lia Madonia-Garcia, River Forest Clerk Buff Martin and Assessor Pam Kende-helped us at every turn.

Our volunteers-Marcia Alpert, Roy Picone, Millie Erhardt, Valerie Woods, Mary Jane Welter and Susan Stearns and her crew-matched, stuffed, stamped and mailed thousands of letters. Countless other volunteers helped organize and deliver the gifts on Dec. 16. Again, we were especially pleased that Cathy Yen and customers of Great Harvest Bread Company provided a wonderful loaf of bread to every one of our families! The Oak Park-River Forest Food Pantry of the Community of Congregations provided food gift certificates for both the November and December holidays for which we were truly grateful.

We know that we have probably left out hundreds of others who deserve to be mentioned by name, so to everyone who helped, we’d like to say thank you! Thanks for making our community so special. We’ll be back again in the fall.

Alyce Bode, Christine Fisher, Geralyn Fitzgerald
Holiday Food and Gift Basket staff

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