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Surge in Hunger Matched by 'Superbly Generous'

Village Pantry officials thank donors and volunteers for dedication during tough times

With a nearly tenfold increase in hunger in the village in recent years, Village Pantry Coalition officials thanked their supporters Monday.

 “We are grateful to be a part of a superbly generous community, and we thank our donors and volunteers for their support,” said Jolene Churak, director of the Office of Citizens Services and the president of the Village Pantry Coalition Board of Directors.

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Her remarks were made at the village board meeting as she presented certificates and thanked everyone for their ongoing assistance.

Before presenting the certificates she explained that in 1984 the food pantry was serving 20 families on a crisis management basis, but currently helps 200 local families on a regular, supplemental basis.

Among those honored were Patricia Coci, a special education teacher at District 124; Sarah Murphy, a social worker; John Brazzale, a former longtime resident whose parents were instrumental in the Senior Council; Kathy Hatczel; and Hazel Bozen, Senior Citizens Council.

Assisting in the presentation were Village Pantry Coalition board members Laura Shallow of Fifth Third Bank and Virginia Wrobel of the Senior Citizens Council.

“Thank you for making the Village Pantry the most valuable food pantry around,” Mayor Sexton added. “I want everyone to know that you can receive assistance and remain anonymous. We don’t need to know who you are. If you are in need, you will be helped.”

The Village Pantry Coalition is located at the former Howatt Fire Station, 98th Place and Washtenaw. Food pick up hours are Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 2p.m. to 4 p.m. Food items are collected primarily through drives and purchased through the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Checks are welcome throughout the year and may be made payable to the Village Pantry Coalition and sent to the Hamilton B. Maher Community Center, 3450 W. 95th Street, Evergreen Park, IL 60805.

In other action at the Board meeting:

  • Sexton noted a letter in which a village resident reported that switching to Verde Energy USA saved him 25-30 percent on his monthly electricity bill. Verde is the alternative electricity supplier chosen by village officials as part of the aggregation effort approved in August. The mayor encouraged everyone to switch to Verde. Details are available on the village website.
  • The mayor said that “our fine friends in Chicago” have raised water rates again, meaning a 15 percent rate hike effective Jan. 1. “Water will become valuable like oil, and you can tell everyone you heard it here first,” Sexton said. “The (water) rates have gone up in the past. It will continue to go up, and we don’t have a choice. We are obligated to pay the rate they charge us.”
  • It was noted that residents can still schedule visits with Santa Claus through Christmas Eve. For details, call the Recreation Department at (708) 229-3373.

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