Local churches and businesses team up for charity

By Zachary Brictson

With frigid weather approaching, local churches plan for programs to help the less fortunate through the winter.

Churches and businesses are working with DeKalb’s Salvation Army, 830 Grove St., to provide food drives and other charitable service to eligible families for this holiday season.

Lynn Schmidt, a secretary of the First Lutheran Church, 324 N. Third St., said the church plans to hand out food baskets this Thanksgiving and Christmas. According to Jennifer Warren, director of social services at the Salvation Army, the gesture consists of a laundry basket filled with mixes for pancakes, stuffing, desserts, as well as fruit, syrup and a $10 certificate for turkey.

“It’s meant to provide a thanksgiving dinner and breakfast for a family of six to eight people,” Warren said.

The Salvation Army registers families for baskets, making sure they are indeed eligible and in need, which Warren said is almost always the case. Warren was pleased with the amount of participating churches and businesses for this year’s drive

“We are lucky enough to be working with 20 to 25 area churches,” Warren said.

Darlene Orth, church administrator of the United Methodist Church, 321 Oak St., said they are also having a food drive through the Salvation Army, and that giving trees will also be set up for Christmas time.

Connie, a secretary of the First Congregational United Church of Christ on 615 North 1st St, said the church does food drives through the Salvation Army on the first Sunday of every month. Warren said the programs have served nearly double the amount of families from 2008 to 2009.

She said this year the Salvation Army will be trying to distribute more through food pantries, and are collecting new toys and clothing items for kids as well.

Warren said she is also grateful towards NIU students, as well as fraternities and sororities that have helped in the past.

“So many times we’ve had volunteers from NIU serve in the pantries year round,” Warren said.