The M.O.R.E. Center had its usual busy November and December. In addition to providing holiday meals and regular weekly food assistance, we were involved in the Marengo/Union Toys for Tots collection.

Toys for Tots is managed by the Retired Marine Corp Reserves. Jerry and Linda Havens headed up the county and supplemented the local donations. Local volunteer and organizer Chris Angelo and his family worked for weeks preparing for the Saturday morning in December when 35 Girl Scouts and Zion’s Club members gathered to pack the toys. Participating in packing toys were: Girl Scout Troop 586, leaders Rachel Tomasi and Kelly Hartmann; Troop 1059, leaders Linda Hadlock and Sandy Christianson; Troop 936, leaders Penny Touhy and Tami Gerhke; and Zion’s Club 4:19, leaders Sherry Roberts and Deaconess Julie Kelli Sok. Thanks to the wonderful community support, Toys for Tots was a great success.

Now we are planning for the new year and reflecting on the past year. One of our goals was and still is to improve our food program. This past year we significantly increased the meat, produce, fruit and bread quantities for families by partnering with Jewel in Huntley to bring back food that Jewel can no longer sell. This year, we will give milk to our guests each time they come to the pantry. This means we are taking on the added expense of more than $2 per family for each visit plus picking up the milk weekly and placing it in a newly purchased dairy cooler.

We are very fortunate to have the cooperation of a number of businesses for support of our programs and we are equally blessed with a core group of committed volunteers who pick up, sort and help distribute our food, clothing and household items. Our financial assistance volunteers are also dedicated to doing everything possible to keep families in their homes with the utilities on. So, in reflection, we feel good about this past year and we will continue to seek ways to improve our services in the near future. Let us know about any ideas you might have and we invite you to visit our center at any time. We’re open on Wednesdays from 9a.m. -12p.m. and Thursdays 4-6p.m. 829 Greenlee St., Marengo. 815-568-7950. www.marengomorecenter.org.

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