Give thanks, give back
Area organizations volunteer time for those in need
Shortly before noon Thursday, Sonia Callas arrived at a Crystal Lake house and gave Alvera Wingate a bag with some bread, roasted turkey with dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, cream of chicken rice soup and pumpkin pie.
Along with the meal, Callas, 66, gave Wingate, 89, a hug and a “Happy Thanksgiving” greeting.
Meals delivered by Callas were a few of the 130 delivered to seniors by volunteers in McHenry County for The Salvation Army’s Golden Diners on Thanksgiving.
The Golden Diners meal deliveries were some of the generous acts done on the holiday.
“I think what we do is so little,” Callas said. “We get a lot more than we give.”
Wingate has been receiving the meals through Golden Diners for three years.
“It’s something to look forward to,” Wingate said. “I’m very thankful for the organization.”
Callas, who normally delivers meals on Thursday, volunteered to help out on Thanksgiving in case other volunteers were unavailable because of family commitments.
“I really truly enjoy doing this,” Callas said.
The meals were delivered to homebound seniors who without the food and the visit by the driver may not have been able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Golden Diners meals were donated by Around the Clock in Crystal Lake and Isabel’s Family Restaurant in Woodstock.
On Wednesday, the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce, Crystal Lake Jaycees and Crystal Lake Food Pantry held their annual Community Harvest which was expected to bring in more than 80,000 pounds for the food pantry.
Among the other places providing meals on Thursday to those in need or away from their families this year were the Masonic Organizations of Crystal Lake and the Combined Veterans of McHenry County.
The Masonic Organizations of Crystal Lake hosted about 30 U.S. Navy recruits from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. The recruits were guests of the Nunda Masonic Lodge and the Nunda Eastern Star.
Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Polish Legion and American Legion in McHenry held their annual gathering for roughly 120 Great Lakes Naval Training Center students at the VFW Post 4600. The veterans groups also planned to send any leftovers to the PADS site at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Richmond.
Event volunteer coordinator Marianne Ruiz said it was important to her to give the sailors a traditional Thanksgiving meal because they are away from home.
“It’s so cool to have them come here and spend a holiday [with] them,” Ruiz said. “It’s a great way to spend the day.”
The McHenry Moose Lodge 691 hosted about 50 sailors from the Great Lakes naval base and 25 youngsters from Mooseheart Child City and School in Batavia.
Acting Moose Lodge Administrator Donald Ensminger said this is the lodge’s biggest event of the year.
“This is for the sailors to have a good time without having to answer to any officers,” Ensminger said.