CAROL STREAM – Carol Stream’s Ross Ferraro Town Center will rock for a cause on, when the band Maggie Speaks takes center stage at 6 p.m. for the fourth annual Concert For the Troops.
“Participating in the event is an act of patriotism, as it visibly demonstrates our support and tells enlisted troops loud and clear that the Carol Stream community has not forgotten them,” said Chris Oakley, assistant to the village manager.
Village officials hope concertgoers are generous during the event, at which supplies and financial donations will be collected. The event was planned to assist Operation Support Our Troops with its efforts to aid the military and their families. As in past years, the fundraiser offers opportunities to contribute.
Items for the organization’s troop care packages will be collected during the concert. Items may be dropped off at Bielawski Town Hall, 500 N. Gary Ave., through July 19.
Requested donation items include beef jerky and Slim Jims, Gatorade drink mix packs, Propel drink mix packets, canned nuts in containers that are 20 ounces or less, 100 count packages of multivitamins or Vitamin C, fly swatters and fly strips, sunscreen with an SPV of 30 or higher and anti-itch or antibiotic cream.
“Right now, it is very, very important that we get these donations,” said OSOT Volunteer Administrative Director Sue Liston, who has four family members in the military. “With budget cuts, our military in remote areas don’t receive all the necessities that they need.”
The village will hold a 50/50 split-the-pot raffle and auction at the July 11 concert. Auction prizes include two tickets to the July 20 Rockin’ The Troops OSOT benefit concert at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, which will feature ACM, CMA and Grammy Award winner Ronnie Dunn, who will be preceded by ARRA, the Voices and Kimo Williams Band.
Other auction prizes include tickets and a parking pass to a Chicago White Sox game and a Culver’s gift basket.
Charkies will sell Mediterranean-style dishes at the concert, and Culver’s will serve frozen custard with a variety of toppings.
OSOT distributes 25-pound shared care packages, Liston said. Last year, OSOT sent its millionth pound since the organization was launched in 2003 by founder and president Deborah Rickert.
Rickert has two sons serving in the Army, according to OSOT’s website, and launched the organization from her kitchen table. She has dedicated her time and energy to helping the troops by collecting snacks, toiletries and comforts not readily available to soldiers, sending the comfort kits overseas.
Since 2003, the organization has raised millions of dollars for the military and their families and shipped more than 35,000 care packages to deployed service members.
“It’s amazing what the volunteers do there,” Carol Stream Mayor Frank Saverino said.
He and Oakley have witnessed the operation firsthand when they dropped off previously collected items at the Lisle distribution center.
“Mayor Saverino is a huge supporter of this organization,” Liston said. “They [the village does] do a great job.”
In addition to the more than 100 care packages sent each week to America’s military, the nonprofit organization assists returning veterans, helps families when their loved ones are deployed and offers other programs.
“Almost everyone has someone near and dear to them in the military,” said Saverino when asked why the fundraiser is worth supporting.
For information about Carol Stream’s benefit concert and OSOT collection, call 630-665-7050 or visit www.carolstream.org.