CAROL STREAM – Sometimes it takes a village to get something done, and when it comes to Carol Stream’s annual Community Food Drive, the members of that village are more than willing to play their part.
“It’s a perfect community event because schools, churches, neighbors and friends can all take part,” said Luanne Newman, food drive chair and executive director of the Carol Stream Chamber of Commerce.
This is the fifth year the Carol Stream Rotary Club organized the Community Food Drive, which started as an effort Newman carried out in her own neighborhood.
When she served as president of the Rotary Club in 2009, Newman wanted to extend the project to anyone who was interested in getting involved.
Now, the Rotary has several community partners, ranging from Community Consolidated School District 93 and Glenbard North High School to various businesses, churches, residents and other organizations.
In 2013, the drive collected 15,000 pounds of food, and that amount has increased during the years, Newman said.
The food collected in the drive will go to three Carol Stream pantries: Interfaith Food Pantry at Outreach Community Center, Humanitarian Service Project and Neighborhood Food Pantries at Lutheran Church of the Master.
Personal care items also will be accepted by the drive.
“In DuPage County, people don’t realize how much hunger there is, how much need there is,” Newman said.
Donations can be dropped off through April 11 at locations throughout Carol Stream.
The culmination of the Community Food Drive is April 12, when donors are welcome to drop off items from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Glenbard North, 990 N. Kuhn Road. Items that have been collected at other sites in town will be brought to the school as well.
All nine schools in Community Consolidated School District 93 also are participating in the Community Food Drive.
The district has been part of the drive all five years. Donations from students, staff and community members who drop off their items at the schools typically fill two trucks each year, Superintendent Bill Shields said.
This type of community service is just a way of life in District 93, Shields said. The goal of the district is to go beyond academics to focus on civic leadership as well, preparing students to be good citizens.
“We just think it’s important as a district to do this,” Shields said.
There are many good citizens in Carol Stream who get involved with the Community Food Drive. They’re called neighborhood partners.
These partners lead collection efforts in their own backyards. They distribute fliers and bags to each home in their neighborhood about a week before the drive. Then on April 12, they drive around, collecting the filled bags their neighbors left outside their homes.
Carol Stream resident Rose Calkins has served as a neighborhood partner each year of the drive. For her, it was important to do what she could to help those in her immediate community.
“It strengthens communities,” she said. “You have to help right at home.”
Drive organizers are in need of more partners such as Calkins this year, Newman said. There aren’t as many volunteers this year as there have been for past drives.
“It does take a village,” Calkins said. “It takes everyone.”
How to help
Donate food and personal care items through April 11 at various sites throughout Carol Stream. On April 12, bring donations to Glenbard North.
Become a neighborhood partner by contacting Luanne Newman at 630-665-3325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Non-perishable food items such as stew, chili, pastas, pasta sauce, tuna, peanut butter, jelly, coffee, granola bars, cereal, pancake mix, syrup, mayonnaise, ketchup, instant potatoes and oatmeal, and personal care items such as toilet paper, diapers, paper towels, laundry detergent, shampoo, soap and more.
Visit the Carol Stream Chamber of Commerce website at www.carolstreamchamber.com and click on "Community-wide Food Drive" in the calendar for a list of drop-off sites.