Monday, July 30, 2012

Welcome Aboard, Rachel!

Today at HSP, we are pleased to welcome a brand new intern to our team, Rachel Wincenciak. As we prepare to bid farewell to all of our summer interns in the coming weeks, we are very excited to be gaining a valuable asset for our upcoming ventures! Rachel will be joining us as a general intern, who will be working on a wide variety of tasks within our organization, as she begins to get a feel for the non-profit world.
Our new intern, Rachel
Rachel is a recent graduate from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At Coe College, Rachel studied Sociology and Spanish, and has a wide range of experience doing volunteer work during her time there. Rachel joins us with a strong passion for helping others. While in her undergraduate years, Rachel held a volunteer position in which she was an English tutor, leant time to an organization which helped reintroduce inmates to life outside of prison, as well as worked with at-risk children in the Cedar Rapids area. In fact, Rachel started her volunteer work right here at HSP—6 years ago. Rachel got involved with HSP while attending Glenbard South High School through her National Honors Society, where she was active in the SCP and FTK projects. Who knew that after a long history of volunteering at our Center, that we would welcome Rachel to our HSP intern team!
            Rachel hopes to pursue a career relating to nonprofit organizations, and hopes to gain an abundance of knowledge during her time spent here at HSP. In her spare time, she enjoys crocheting, playing and watching baseball, and biking. She also works as a server at a retirement community. We cannot wait to see the wonderful things which Rachel will bring to the table. Please help us in welcoming Rachel to HSP!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Happy 24th Birthday, Matt!

Matt blowing out the candles!

Today is an extra special day here at HSP, as it is Matt’s 24th birthday! We cannot say enough what a gem Matt truly is. He is undoubtedly everyone’s ‘go-to’ guy, and someone who brightens up the HSP Center with his presence. Matt, who has been a vital part of the HSP team since last August when he signed on as an intern, is so indispensible that he was welcomed as an official staff member today! To celebrate, we rounded up all of the staff members and interns, and headed to the café for some special birthday festivities. To commemorate Matt’s big day, pizza, chocolate cake and ice cream was served, and the café was decked out in floor to ceiling birthday decorations. Matt’s HSP family took turns delivering kind words and well wishes in his honor as we all indulged in the birthday treats.
The HSP team celebrating Matt's birthday!

Matt has very little time to stop and soak in his real birthday, which is Friday, as he will be spending the day at his brother’s rehearsal dinner, followed by the wedding Saturday. We only hope that the man who just keeps going and going can stop and enjoy some well-deserved time for himself! Here’s to wishing a very happy and relaxing birthday to Matt from everyone here at HSP! Thanks for everything you do!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thank You Party City!

The Humanitarian Service Project was extremely grateful to receive a generous amount of wrapping paper and tape from Party City in Naperville this morning! This wrapping paper will be used to wrap gifts for the 888 children between the ages of 3 to 11 in our Children’s Birthday Project.  Steve Stasiak, a long-time friend and faithful volunteer of HSP, took the time to pick up the donations in Naperville and was able to fill a van from floor to ceiling with three large boxes of tape and 804 rolls of wrapping paper!  The wrapping paper came in a vast array of designs and colors such as “green apple”, “grape”, and many more!  We would especially like to say “thank you” to Lisa Kruse for organizing this thoughtful donation; we at HSP truly appreciate your kindness! 

 Children in this project receive a 20-25 pound birthday box with 4-8 new toys, 5-7 new books, a game or activity kit, plush animals, several smaller gifts such as bubbles, yo-yos, and playing cards, school supplies, and a “Party-in-a-Bag” which includes cake mix, frosting, candles, party favors, cups, plates, napkins, and other birthday party essentials!

If you are interested in making a donation to the Children’s Birthday Project or volunteering with HSP, please contact us at (630) 221-8340 or email us at

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thank You to the Danada North Homeowners’ Association

HSP would like to give a huge thanks to the Danada North Homeowners’ Association with the recent food donation that filled two full vans. Last Thursday, the association gave out bags, donated from Whole Foods. Neighborhood kids then went door-to-door picking up the filled bags of non-perishables which totaled 98 bags. The organizers of the food drive, Gina Kraman and Trish Burau, were ecstatic with the turnout of this food drive and are looking forward to working with HSP in the future.

This generous donation will be used toward the Senior Citizen Project which provides 120 seniors with a monthly delivery of 15 selections of fresh fruits and vegetables, 7 frozen meats, 5 grocery bags of non-perishables, 2 bags of paper products.

It is easy to forget that there are those in our own neighborhoods who are going hungry. At HSP, our mission is to give to those who are in need and provide the necessity of getting nutritious food without worry. For this reason, we, again, wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Danada North Homeowners’ Association for this charitable donation!   If you are interested in Senior Citizen Project or any of our other projects, you can learn more at

Monday, July 23, 2012

Thank you Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!

Birthdays—they come around but once a year, and for those twenty-four hours, we get to be the main attraction, the star of the show, the top dog. For many, a birthday is a special experience filled with gifts, celebration and cake. But for some impoverished children, birthdays are void of all the classic festive celebration elements because of their financial struggles. Luckily, we here at HSP, along with the kind support of donors like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, ensure that the children enrolled in our Children’s Birthday Project (CBP) get to experience the exciting, memorable birthdays that they deserve.

Party-in-a-bags donated by The Church of Latter-Day Saints in Wilmette

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Wilmette recently brought in a donation that will help HSP to provide children with the birthday of their dreams. The Church of Latter-Day Saints in Wilmette donated 52 party-in-a-bag gifts to be distributed in the birthday boxes for the children throughout the year. The bags, which were assembled by campers aged 12-18 at the church’s girls youth camp, are filled to the brim full of goodies to make the perfect birthday party for a child. The party-in-a-bag packages contain all of the makings of a children’s birthday celebration, including decorations, cake mix and frosting, plates, napkins, party favors, cups, streamers and balloons. These party-in-a-bag parcels are one part of the birthday box which are given to these needy children. Also included in the 25 lb CBP birthday packages are school supplies, 4 to 8 large toys, stuffed animals, several small toys and 4 to 6 age-appropriate books.

With the help of our wonderful donors, like the people from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we here at HSP are able to give 888 impoverished children the kind of birthday memories that every child should get to experience. We truly appreciate the time that these young ladies spent assembling these fun party-in-a-bag packages. If you would like more information on our CBP, you can visit our website at:

Friday, July 20, 2012

HSP Gears Up for Another Delivery Day

As this is being written, our group of faithful volunteers are busy preparing boxes of produce that will go towards the 90 pounds of groceries that each of the 120 seniors participating in the Senior Citizen Project will receive tomorrow on our monthly Delivery Day! The success of this project would not be possible without the service of our selfless volunteers, and we at the Humanitarian Service Project feel extremely blessed to have them! It truly is heart-warming to hear our seniors express their utmost appreciation for their personal monthly delivery of fresh, juicy fruits, green, leafy vegetables, bread, frozen meats, non-perishable food, paper products, and gift from a “secret pal”! 

We would also like to take the time to say thank you to our friends at BirthdayCakes4Free, who provide birthday cakes every Delivery Day for seniors with birthdays during that month.  Their kind gesture truly makes our seniors’ birthdays more memorable!

If you are interested in joining our wonderful team of volunteers or participating in our monthly delivery days, please contact us by phone at (630) 881-8340 or by email at

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thank You and Happy Trails Student Life!

Today we at HSP want to take the time to say goodbye to our volunteers from Student Life who have been graciously assisting us in our warehouse this week. As we wrote in our blog earlier this week, these volunteers who have come to us all the way from Batesville, Arkansas, have been here the past 3 days helping out at HSP as part of their annual youth camp. They arrived in Wheaton on Monday and will be leaving tomorrow. While they have been here, they have been volunteering at HSP and other service sites, as well as participating in fun group activities in the mornings and evenings.  In past years the youth camp taken its groups of young volunteers to places like Nashville and New Orleans.

            One volunteer described his experience this week as “eye opening,” saying that this year they did more behind-the-scenes work and he realized that no matter how big or small of a task it may seem, you are always helping someone who needs it. He also profoundly stated that “you can travel around the world to help people, but you don’t need to. There are always people who need your help even in your local communities.” HSP knows first-hand how true this statement is, as we serve hundreds of impoverished families just throughout DuPage and parts of Kane county, and there are still hundreds more who need it.  We want to give a huge thank you to our volunteers from Student Life, their continuous positive attitude and tremendous work ethic has truly been inspirational. We hope that they had a great experience here and wish them safe travels back to Arkansas.
If you, like this wonderful group, are interested in getting more information about helping HSP please call (630) 221-8340 or visit us at

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thank You Outreach Community Center!

Outreach Community Center volunteers bag paper products
and personal care items for our Senior Citizen Project. 

Even though it is arguable that it is difficult to get kids to do much during the summer, generous middle school volunteers from the Outreach Community Center, located in Carol Stream, worked hard this morning preparing the supply of paper products and personal care items for our Senior Citizen Project. These young volunteers are part of the Outreach Community Center’s Learn-2-Earn Program. The Learn-2-Earn program is a weekly summer enrichment program designed for middle school students, where one half of the week consists of academic work while the other half of the week focuses on community service so students can not only get a boost in their school work during the summer, but also learn the importance of giving back to the community.

We would like to thank Chantel Cook at the Outreach Community Center for coordinating the event, and, of course, our hard-working volunteers.  The paper products that these volunteers sorted include toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towels, and personal care items such as soap and hand sanitizer. In addition to the paper products, our 120 needy seniors in the Senior Citizen Project receive 90 pounds of groceries each month, including a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, seven different kinds of meat, and a variety of non-perishable food items. Seniors also receive a Secret Pal gift every month with their grocery delivery, which is a small gift that is given to a senior on a regular basis from an anonymous donor and is usually an item that comes off of our senior wish list. If you would like to get involved with helping our Senior Citizen Project, or any of our other projects, please contact us at (630) 221-834 or email us at


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Little Southern Comfort

     The recent heat wave brought along some of the South with them. Today, HSP welcomed our volunteers of Student Life from Batesville, Arkansas with a warm welcome as they will be helping out with us for the next three days. Student Life is a Christian organization based out of Birmingham, AL hosting events across the country for more than 60,000 students and adults annually. Providing service to the community in a variety of places, HSP is overwhelmed with joy to host our group of 7th-12th graders. Finishing out a 10-hour drive, the group has been helping out today with creating presents for our Children’s Birthday Project, as well as creating personal care bags for our Senior Citizen Project.

Some of the group making filler presents for the Children's Birthday Project

Sorting out the personal care items for the Senior Citizen Project
    With their first day marked off, the volunteers are having a great time here working around the warehouse. Spending their nights at the Wheaton College dorms, the group does not seem to have time to do sightseeing around Chicago; however, they were able to experience some good old fashion Chicago deep dish pizza at Giordano’s last night. Another Student Life group, Bethel New Life is spending their week in Chicago as well. We are more than pleased to have such a wonderful group with us this week and are looking forward to spending more time with them. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Get Those Pencils Sharpened!

     Now that we’ve reached the halfway point of July, its time to start thinking about the upcoming school year. The parents are counting down the days until that first school bell rings, and so begins back to school shopping. Ready or not, the school year is upon us, and adequate school supplies are an absolute must for children as the kids leave the pool and head back to the classroom. Unfortunately, many families living in our community struggle to supply their children with basic back to school essentials such as folders, pencils, rulers and backpacks.
Members of the St. Walters Parish VBS dropping off school supplies

Tiffany and Elizabeth Jones from the Illinois Natural Pageants dropping off backpacks

We here at HSP have been fortunate enough to receive a generous flow of school supplies the past couple of weeks at our center. Of all the wonderful donors, we would like to personally recognize Tiffany and Elizabeth Jones along with the contestants of the Illinois Natural Pageants, the “Blue Pride” Committee at Naperville North High School, St. Walters Parish Vacation Bible School and Kathie Grove with Grove and Associates. With these generous donations from some of our kind donors, the upcoming school supply distribution looks promising! Thank you again for your thoughtful contributions—you are making education possible!
All of these donations helped in assisting us to make a difference. Our goal here at HSP is to provide 5,000 school-aged children with everything they need for school, as there is an overwhelming amount of children in the community who depend on the charitable donations of others to receive their school supplies. Therefore, we are always looking for more donations. The supplies we collect are donated to the needy children served by the DuPage County area Back to School Fair, or directly to schools with a substantial amount of need. This school year, we are particularly in need of pencil boxes, crayons, glue, calculators, index cards, colored folders and notebooks. Supplies can be brought into our center Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 3:30 PM, and we will start distributing in early August. If you are interested in making a school supplies donation, you can contact HSP at (630) 221-8340.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thank You to YMSL and Church of the Cross Volunteers!

While our Feed the Kids Distribution Day was going on yesterday here at HSP, there was a lot more, as always, going on behind the scenes. While a large team of HSP staff and volunteers were in the warehouse and outside organizing and loading the hundreds of boxes of fresh produce, non-perishables, breads and frozen meats, there were equally important jobs taking place inside our center. We would like to recognize the Carol Stream Panther Chapter of the Young Men’s Service League (YMSL), as well as a group of young volunteers from the Church of the Cross, located in Hoffman Estates, for volunteering their time to assist us in these important activities.

In addition to the group we hosted on Tuesday, the 3 volunteers from the Carol Stream Chapter of YMSL were here to lend a helping hand in the toy sorting department. This is a huge task, as every toy given out to the children enrolled in our Children’s Birthday Project program is catered specifically for age appropriateness, classification of toy, and gender. The folks from YMSL did a fantastic job of getting some of our toys sorted out into categories, so they’re ready to be packed up and given to a special child in our CBP program!
 (Volunteers from YMSL sorting toys)

(Volunteers from the Church of the Cross wrapping gifts) 

In addition to the volunteers from YMSL, we also received a peppy dose of youth and vigor from the volunteers from the Church of the Cross. These volunteers took on the next step for distributing toys in our CBP program, and they wrapped gifts. The wrapping paper, just like the gifts, is catered toward each individual child in the program. The group with the Church of the Cross was fantastic in completing a very substantial amount of gift wrapping for our needy children. The gifts look amazing! With each toy carefully selected and then tenderly wrapped, these gifts are sure to light up the faces of the children receiving them. 
(Group of volunteers from Church of the Cross wrapping gifts for children)

Clearly, our plate here at HSP is always full, and the success of our programs, and our ability to continue serving needy children and seniors, is made possible through our wonderful volunteers. We would like to send a huge thank you to the volunteers who helped us out yesterday from Church of the Cross and YMSL by sorting toys and wrapping gifts. Your efforts made a huge difference!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

HSP Feeds the Kids

Our July distribution day for Feed the Kids is well underway here at HSP! Until 6:00 tonight, the 100 impoverished families in the program will be coming to HSP to pick up over 200 pounds of food. This will include nine fresh vegetables, nine fresh fruits, bread, meat, and three large boxes of non-perishable food. Feed the Kids is designed to feed needy children during the summer months when they do not receive free or subsidized school lunches.

None of this would be possible without all of our wonderful volunteers! We would like to thank the four returning volunteers from Charter One (they also helped us during our June distribution day!), the two volunteers from Best Buy mobile, as well as many individual volunteers that helped us alleviate hunger for these families.  This morning we served the first 18 families within 40 minutes, a record here at HSP! We would also like to thank all the help that we received to help us prepare for today, whether through volunteering to help pack the food or the wonderful donations we received. If you are interested in Feed the Kids or any of our other projects, you can learn more at

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More Help to Serve the Children of HSP

Chicagoland area's volunteers helping
 to sort through children's toys.

Since we have been arranging and sorting hundreds of pounds of food on behalf of the July distribution for Feed The Kids, we were excited to have 9 volunteers coming from the Chicagoland area and 5 volunteers from the Young Men’s Service League (YMSL). Volunteers from YMSL included two boys and three mothers stemming from The Carol Stream Panther Chapter. The volunteers from the were here devoting their time back in March. We are so grateful they have returned to continue working with HSP. Both groups have been helping to sort through and arrange our fresh produce for tomorrow, July    11th’s Feed The Kids distribution. After the groups completed sorting through the produce, they began working on organizing something a little more childish, toys. 

The Carol Stream Panther Chapter of YMSL organizing
toys for a boy in HSP's CBP.

Our warehouse is constantly changing shape when it comes to moving lugs around, so these generous volunteers are continuing to gather, consolidate and box up toys. Many of the toys that are floating around the warehouse, today, will soon have a home with many of the children within HSP’s Children’s Birthday Project (CBP). It’s always a great day at HSP, especially when we have committed volunteers like the ones from and YMSL. We want to give a big thank you to the wonderful volunteers from and the Young Mens Service League. We couldn’t give all that we do without your hard work and your willingness to give back to the community! Thanks again to all of the volunteers from and The Carol Stream Panther Chapter of the Young Men’s Service League! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Thank You Mail ‘N Stuff!

Ordinarily, at Mail ‘N Stuff in Glen Ellyn, cardboard boxes get used to ship mail. However, Mail ‘N Stuff  has decided to put some of their cardboard boxes to a different use. Today, we were able to pick up 100 cardboard boxes that were generously donated by Mail ‘N Stuff to use for our Children’s Birthday Project (CBP).

The donation of 100 cardboard boxes from Mail ‘N Stuff. 
We would like to thank Mail ‘N Stuff for this wonderful donation and would like to thank Mark Herman for coordinating the donation on such short notice. Each of the 100 donated boxes has dimensions of 20 x 16 x 14 inches, which amounts to a pretty large box when it’s all put together.

Even though a pile of collapsed cardboard boxes doesn’t look like much, it is truly something special for the 900 children enrolled in our Children’s Birthday Project. On their birthdays, children in the CBP receive one of these boxes that is filled with toys and gifts such as 5-7 books, 4-8 larger toys games, stuffed animals, small toys, and a Party in a Bag, which contains all of the materials needed to throw a child’s birthday party, such as cake mix and frosting, candles, balloons, streamers, and various other party decorations, and party favors. When it’s all complete, the birthday box weighs an average of 20 pounds, which is no small gift. If you would like to help contribute to the Children’s Birthday Project or any of our other projects, please contact us at (630) 221-8340 or email us at

Birthday Boxes that each child in the Children’s Birthday Project receives. Eventually, the boxes donated by Mail ‘N Stuff will look like this!

Friday, July 6, 2012

More Fans: So Staying Cool is a Bit Easier for our Seniors

Although the heat index may be hitting 100 degrees, at the Humanitarian Service Project we are trying our best to keep our cool. HSP is continuing to serve its 120 seniors, and counting, by striving to meet our goals of maintaining their needs in all aspects of health. Not only do we believe nutritious foods and Secret Pal gifts help the seniors in various ways, during tough and hot times there are a few other concerns we have. Another way that we are serving the seniors within our Senior Citizen Project is by reaching out to them in order to find out whether they are indeed struggling to stay cool in these scorching temperatures.
Alex and Larry 007
(Loyal volunteer, Larry Erven, left, and staff member Alex Gordy, right, deliver fans to seniors.)
We have staff and interns contacting the seniors and asking if they would like a fan to be delivered from an HSP volunteer. As the temperatures remain around 100 degrees, any small change, such as a fan, could make a difference for a needy senior in the DuPage and Kane Counties. The summer months often leave many of the seniors in our program stuck inside during all hours of the day, and with many who go without air conditioning, a box fan is just a little contribution HSP is more than happy to make. Our steadfast volunteer, Larry Erven, and HSP staff member, Alex Gordy, delivered fans to seniors throughout DuPage County. Long time volunteer Judy Simon and her grandchildren Harrison and Eva took fans to 6 seniors in Wheaton and all the seniors were so happy to see them today. Thank you to our wonderful volunteers and Alex for the selfless deeds done today!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Onward to the July FTK D-Day!

Now that the sparklers have been used up and the smoke has cleared from the Fourth of July fireworks, we here at HSP are gearing up for yet another big Feed the Kids Distribution Day! With how smoothly things went last month for our June D-Day, we’re all so excited to roll up our sleeves, get to work, and have an even better D-Day than the last!

            This month, our FTK D-Day will be taking place next week on Wednesday, July 11th. We have boxes upon boxes of delicious groceries sorted and packed in preparation for the 100 families who are enrolled in our Feed the Kids program. We are fortunate enough, yet again, to have a wonderful array of volunteers and staff members to make this busy day go off without a hitch. However, in order to ensure the continued success of the Feed the Kids program and Distribution Days in the future, we are always in need of the generous support and donations of the community, in the form of both food donations and monetary contributions. Providing aid to so many families in need would not be possible without the help of the people in the community, as the collection of food and execution of the project is a very elaborate process.

            There are a few specific items which HSP has a particular need for in order to accommodate to the hundreds of needy children and seniors which we serve. Some of these items include: Peanut butter, jelly, canned fruits, pasta, pasta sauce and main meals (hearty soups, chili, boxed rice meals, etc.) These items can be brought into our office at: 465 Randy Road Carol Stream, IL 60188. We know that with your kind support, our outreach will just continue to grow!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Girl Scouts to the Rescue for Birthday Parties

What’s a birthday without a party? Reflecting on our childhoods, the joyous moments of sweet naive thoughts surround those few times of the colorful decorations and scrumptious cakes that is our annual birthday party. While there are those fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to host a party, there are many needy children who are not as lucky. For this reason we’d like to thank the Girl Scouts Service Unit 406 (Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana) who donated 10 boxes of party supplies which included hats, party favors, plates, cake mix, napkins and frosting to help us change this unfortunate reality for the needy children in our Children’s Birthday Project.
The birthday party supplies donated by the Girl Scouts.

These abundant supplies will complete numerous Party-in-a-Bag kits which are included with the 20 pounds of presents to give an impoverished child’s birthday a special flare to make the celebration more memorable. We wish to give a warm thanks to the girls for allowing us to keep this wonderful component of our project ongoing and for aiding in creating warm memories for the trapped in poverty kids. There are currently 900 children in our Children’s Birthday Project whose families’ financial standings cause a struggle to fund a party. If you wish to help out like these fantastic Girl Scouts, please contact us at (630)221-8340. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thank You to our Volunteers at Ribfest!

Despite the heat, humidity and storms that raged on this weekend, HSP volunteers have been doing a fantastic job at Naperville’s annual Ribfest festival. Ribfest is an annual festival filled with barbecue sauce-filled food and fun that is run by the Naperville Exchange Club and is held at Naperville’s Knoch Park. All of the profits from the festival go charity, specifically to help prevent and eliminate child abuse and domestic violence. 

A total of 26 volunteers including HSP staff and numerous friends of the project signed up throughout the five day event. Ribfest volunteers from HSP served in many ways, starting on the afternoon of Saturday, June 30 at the gates selling and taking tickets of those entering Ribfest. On Sunday afternoon, volunteers worked at the gates and child ID booth as well as the beverage tent. Even though Sunday’s volunteers got a late start due to the afternoon storms, everyone still had fun. Even while this is being written, a few volunteers are working the beverage tent, and volunteers from HSP are also scheduled to work the beverage tent tomorrow afternoon and evening.

Because Ribfest donates funds to HSP based on the number of volunteers who sign up, we would like to thank all of the volunteers for participating on behalf of HSP.  Not only have these volunteers helped us, they have also aided various other children’s charities in the area so they can carry out their missions to help children in need.  

Founder and Executive Director Karole Kettering ( front center) and Database Administrator Alex Gordy (back center) work the beverage tent.