December 08, 2014
On December 6, more than 300 families from Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods lined up in the parking lot of the Kelly Hall YMCA for Fresh Produce Days. This event, which occurs on the first Saturday of every month, is made possible through a partnership with the Greater Food Depository and the Archdiocese of Chicago, as well as the committed efforts of many staff and volunteers.
Approximately 8-15 employees from Blue Cross Blue Shied of Illinois (BCBSIL) were on hand this month, including Maristella Sacarelos, project manager at BCBSIL. “I continue to come because it is such a good cause. It’s very rewarding to know that these families will not starve. They’re very thankful and appreciative that we do this event every month—rain or shine, hot or cold,” she said. “We also offer clothes, shoes and household goods that have been donated from our neighbors.” For every 100 employee volunteer hours, BCBSIL donates $2,000 to Kelly Hall YMCA.
“Blue Cross Blue Shield volunteers provide invaluable assistance in our food distribution program. They are regular volunteers who know the neighbors, which adds a special touch as relationships of support are very important to people in need,” said Fr. Bob Lombardo from the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels. Fr. Bob serves on the YMCA of Metro Chicago Board of Managers and the Kelly Hall YMCA Board of Directors.
“Our community partnerships are integral to delivering the Y’s mission,” added Stan Lewis, executive director, Kelly Hall Y. “In addition to helping families receive much-needed food, Fresh Produce Days offers our Board members, partners and program participants, such as our Teen Reach youth, the opportunity to give back to the community. We’re grateful for all the financial assistance and volunteer hours that help make this important program possible.”
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