Every month, an envelope arrives at Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry containing two things; a check and a letter. This monthly envelope comes from Don Nekrosius and his wife Geraldine. Over the years, Don has shared stories, thoughts about hunger, and so much more with the Food Pantry. When the envelope arrives, the staff clamor around to read it as soon as it arrives.
When asked why he gives, Don said it goes back to his childhood – to small encounters with the skinny kid in his grade school class, to the mission children in India he heard about in high school, to the Southside Orphanage he spent time at once a week. “Those experiences echoed my father’s hard life,” says Don. His father had quit school after sixth grade, eventually working for the same company for 44 years, yet never making more than $10,000 a year. “Poverty is not hard to see if you look for it,” notes Don.
“Here I am with a bit extra in my pocket, and the need for so basic a thing as food is obvious. I can never give very much, but I can always give a little something. We have a responsibility to share, to act in cooperation with all those lessons we were taught about the fact that we’re all brothers and sisters.”
Thanks to donors like Don who contribute whatever they can, Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry is able to provide food and vital services to 47,000 “brothers and sisters” every year. If you would like to read some of the letters Don has written to the Food Pantry, visit the blog at www.oprffoodpantry.org.