Volunteers Pack 10,000 Christmas Food Boxes for Neighbors in Need
Last week, dozens of volunteers packed a whopping 10,000 Christmas food boxes that The Salvation Army will deliver to people in need throughout the Chicagoland, Northern Illinois, and Lake County, Indiana communities this holiday season.
In an impressive assembly line staged at the Army’s Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) warehouse in Elk Grove Village, volunteers filled boxes with turkey or chicken, vegetables, cranberry sauce, biscuits, gravy, stuffing, and dessert. Many of the foods were donated by corporate sponsors – including Topco, Aldi, Capital One, Stampede, and Sprint – who also sent teams of volunteers to pack the boxes.
“Behind the pair of hands that’s packing these boxes is a heart of caring,” said Major David Dalberg, Disaster Services Director for the Army’s Metropolitan Division and the person who organized the food box assembly. “It’s not just how many boxes are packed, it’s that each one is touched by that volunteer in a special way. I believe that God uses that to touch lives and the recipients of those boxes.”
The team of volunteers who assembled, filled, and packed all the boxes onto pallets felt that personal connection to the people who will receive the boxes. “It just feels really good to give back to people who might not be able to have all the things we are able to get,” said Melissa Ellegood, an integrated marketing business analyst for Topco who helped at the packing event. “So it’s nice to be able to provide something to people during the holiday season.”
Moe Beydoun, Sales Director for Sprint, a company that has been sending volunteers to help pack food boxes for about 10 years, thought about the recipients of all the Christmas meals he helped assemble and said, “I hope they get something they wouldn’t have otherwise – and I hope they have a great holiday meal. We love this opportunity to give back.”
Corporate volunteers also appreciated the opportunity to work alongside coworkers they don’t often get to interact with. Radivoj Dudic, Senior Financial Production Analyst for Stampede, which provided a team of volunteers as well as 2,000 chickens for the food boxes, found the event not just “a great way to give back to families in need,” but also a “great time of team-building.” He said he and his coworkers always feel great at the end of their volunteer shift, having worked hard for a great cause.
These holiday food boxes and distributions are supported, in large part, by The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle fund-raising campaign. This year’s goal is $20 million, and our iconic Red Kettles will be on area streets and shopping areas through December 24.
“Personally, I don’t see this as charity. I see it as an opportunity to express service through very practical, tangible terms,” said Major Dalberg. “With that in mind, the whole goal is really helping people provide for their own special holiday dinner. By giving them at least the basics for that dinner, they do with it what they choose to. It’s gets very personalized, and it brings the family together at the table.”
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