The community came through again for the Holiday Gift Basket program


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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, due to the many national and world-wide disasters, people came through and helped the Holiday Food and Gift Basket program sponsor every one of our 797 families! More than 300 individuals, families, businesses, congregations, schools, governmental groups and other organizations provided gifts to make the holidays memorable.

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 and the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation 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, Jerrell Walton, Roury Calhoun, Mike Dobine and Will Madison--helped us at every turn.

Our volunteers--Marcia Alpert, Roy Picone, Millie Erhardt, Christine Fisher, 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. 17.

We were especially pleased this year that Cathy Yen and the customers of Great Harvest Bread Company provided a wonderful loaf of bread to every one of our families. The Hunger Task Force 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 thanks for making our community so special. We'll be back again in the fall.

Janet Haisman, Alyce Bode, Michelle Bagby and Pat Koko, Holiday Food and Gift Basket staff

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