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Local Editorials

OUR VIEW: Fill the trucks, help feed the hungry

THE ISSUE: Donations needed for food pantry

OUR VIEW: Annual collection event continues to grow

Stretching your dollars to keep food on the table every day is a real challenge for many.

That's why local food pantries are so vital to the community. And to ensure the Community Food Basket of Ottawa has plenty of food for those in need, the annual Freezin' for a Reezin' event needs your help.

And organizers will make it worth your stop at the Handy Foods IGA parking lot in Ottawa Friday, Dec. 7.

As usual, the day-long event is packed with musical entertainment, food for sale and a live radio broadcast. Volunteers will be collecting food and monetary donations throughout the day. And it's not unusual for food donations to fill a couple semi-trailers.

Wondering what you can donate? Nonperishable items will be accepted, and items most needed include peanut butter, jelly, spaghetti noodles, spaghetti sauce, boxed cereal, boxed dinners, macaroni and cheese, canned soup, canned fruit, canned vegetables, pancake mix and syrup, brownie mix, cake mix and muffin mixes. Bags of donatable items can be purchased at Handy Foods IGA.

A number of schools are set to perform musical numbers as part of the event. In addition, former WCMY personality and longtime Freezin’ for a Reezin’ host Kris Michaels will join current members of the WCMY and 95.3 JACK FM team as they celebrate a decade of giving.

The 500-Pound Challenge returns with 41 participants, the largest in the program’s history. The American Red Cross will provide its emergency response vehicle as a warming center for volunteers and guests and Mike McGrogan and the Handy Foods IGA team will be “chillin’ and grillin’ ”once again with grilled sandwiches available for purchase during lunch hours.

Many thanks go out to the volunteers who make the event possible, including Dan Aussem and the Illinois Valley Labor Management team, supplying tents and outdoor heaters; Todd Conroy from Conroy’s Towing, organizing volunteer teams; Shelley and Jim Threadgill, Jim and Kathy Sullivan and Nathalie and Jose Schmidt, organizing the 500-Pound Challenge; Bob and Lou Ann Carretto, organizing parties for grade school classrooms that collect the most nonperishable food items; and Stevenson Transfer, providing trucks for food collection.

For more information, contact Chairwoman Karen Rhodes or General Manager Kathy Missel at 815-434-6050.

In years past, hundreds of thousands of pounds of food has been collected, as well as significant monetary donations. That's enough to provide meals for thousands of families that would otherwise go hungry.

No donation is too small. The goal is to fill the trucks furnished by Stevenson Transfer with nonperishable items.

The Ottawa Community Food Basket serves five ZIP codes, including Ottawa, Marseilles, Grand Ridge, Serena and Sheridan.

Whether you can spare some food items, a little cash or some of your time, any help is appreciated.

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