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AARP Illinois Out in Force for Day of Service

From Chicago and its suburbs, to Rockford in the north and Springfield downstate, AARP staff and volunteers were out in force on Day of Service working to make a difference for seniors, veterans and low-income families.

Fighting hunger, helping seniors and volunteers, and keeping the memory of 9/11 alive were the main focus points as AARP staffers and dozens of volunteers spread across Illinois to engage in Day of Service projects in Chicago, the Chicago suburbs, Rockford and state capital Springfield.

In Chicago, 39 volunteers and several staff members worked in the Greater Chicago Food Depository, helping put together over 3,000 boxes of food going to pantries across the region. The AARP volunteers donned Create The Good t-shirts, and worked hand in hand with other groups of volunteers to put together the much-needed boxes.

In Hinsdale/Elmhurst, west of Chicago, staff and volunteers joined veterans at the American Legion, helping to set up for the 9/11 memorial service, assisting in the preparation and serving of refreshments for participants, and then visiting the Post-Ward Patients Wing at the Heinz VA Hospital to bring veterans bags filled with AARP giveaways.

In Rockford, near the northern tip of the state, the action took place at the Rock River Valley Pantry where staffers worked with twelve volunteers on multiple projects, including repackaging hundreds of pounds of bulk rice and cereal into individual servings; putting labels on nearly 1,400 cans of corn; painting the upstairs hallway; putting together individual monthly bags for that day’s clients; sorting 200 lbs. of frozen, donated meat into serving sizes for easier distribution; and a pruning and clean-up project in the alleyway where Thanksgiving giveaways will take place. They also filled out healthier food bags for 25-30 seniors at the Ken-Rock senior apartments.

In Springfield, staff and volunteers worked at Senior Services of Central Illinois preparing 1,000 “I Will Be Ready” disaster preparedness kits for seniors that are homebound, low-income, or veterans. The AARP bags consisted of bottled water, canned soup, antibacterial hand gel, granola bars, bandages, and a FEMA brochure for seniors – all topped off with a United States flag. The bags will be distributed through the Senior Services Daily Bread program and their caseworkers. Springfield Mayor Mike Houston stopped by to give a proclamation deeming September 11th “Day of Service” in Springfield. The work garnered the attention of ABC affiliate WICS-TV Channel 20, and got covered in the evening and nightly newscasts.

Our staff and volunteers had a great day. We had fun moments working together, and we had solemn moments as we remembered the victims of 9/11 and what this day means to the country. Thanks to all of the volunteers who joined us – if you’re reading this and you’d like to hear more about the plethora of volunteer opportunities please shoot us an email!

Not from around here? Plenty of opportunities to volunteer by searching our Create the Good database.