Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

Today our volunteers Larry Erven and Mike Bolsoni graciously took time out of their day to pick up more than four van loads of donated toys from Toys for Tots for the needy children in our Children’s Birthday Project. It was a fitting end to 2013 which saw HSP expanding our programs to serve more needy seniors, children, and families than ever before. Here are a few highlights from 2013.

An aerial shot of our monthly Senior Delivery Day
this May!
It was another successful year for the Senior Citizen Project, which grew to serve 123 impoverished seniors throughout DuPage and Kane with 100 lbs. of nutritious groceries every month!

Our Children’s Birthday Project grew to serve 925 children and to expand the program’s reach to areas previously unserved through our new relationships with Two Rivers Head Start in West and East Aurora and Valley View Headstart in St. Charles.

Things really heated up in the summer with our Feed the Kids and School Supply Drive programs. Feed the Kids provided 100 impoverished families with 525 lbs of nutritious groceries throughout the summer. Thousands of needy kids were equipped for the new school year through our School Supply Drive’s support of the Regional Office of Education’s “Back to School Fair” and further deliveries straight to local schools with high amounts of need.

Volunteers searching through Christmas gifts
for needy children during our Christmas Offering
Of course, the year was capped off with our very exciting Christmas Offering program through which we provided a record amount of groceries and toys to needy seniors, children and their families.

As we reflect on 2013, we at HSP wish to thank everyone who gave their time and resources allowing us to make such an impact in the lives of the neediest members of our communities. It is only through all of the generous support of HSP’s friends that we are able to continually extend life altering assistance to very deserving seniors, children, and families. We thank you for a wonderful 2013, and wish you all a Happy 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

HSP Salutes our Monday Food Sorters

As another year winds down, HSP wishes to recognize a group of volunteers whose regular support has contributed greatly to the success of our Senior Citizen Project, the Monday Morning Food Sorting team. These generous volunteers come in every Monday morning from 9:30 until about Noon to sort food distributed to the 123 impoverished seniors we serve each month. Today, chilly as it was our steadfast Monday Morning Team even braved the cold of HSP’s walk-in freezer to sort packages of frozen meat for the seniors. We wish to thank these food sorting volunteers for all the help they so graciously give every week for the sake of our very needy seniors.

Twelve times throughout the year, HSP delivers 100 lbs of nutritious groceries to each of the 123 needy seniors in our program. Our food sorting volunteers play an instrumental role in making these deliveries a reality. If you are interested in getting more involved in helping the needy in the new year, we are always looking for more smiling faces to join our regular food sorting team. For those of you who aren’t free on Monday mornings, there are still plenty of others ways to help HSP reach out to these very deserving seniors, just check out our website: http://humanitarianservice.org/getinvolved/index.html.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Thanks to Caputo’s and the Bloomingdale-Roselle Kiwanis Club

From Left: Ron and Bob from the Bloomingdale-Roselle
Kiwanis Club with HSP's Senior Citizen Project Coordinator
HSP would like to extend our deepest thanks to Bloomingdale-Roselle Kiwanis Club and Caputo’s Fresh Markets of Bloomingdale for joining forces to help us serve needy seniors and families. The Kiwanis and Caputo’s have been working together over the past few months to provide non-perishable food donations that will go to the neediest members of our communities through our Senior Citizen Project and other programs. Caputo’s has been reaching out to its customers to participate its donation program to benefit the impoverished seniors and families in our programs. Members of the Kiwanis Club then help out by collecting the donated food and delivering it to HSP’s Center. Over the past few months, Caputo’s and the Bloomingdale-Roselle Kiwanis have generously donated dozens to hundreds of bags full of groceries through this partnership, including 33 bags dropped off today. We wish to thank the Bloomingdale-Roselle Kiwanis, Caputo’s, and all of the Caputo’s customers who have been assisting the program for helping us provide much needed nutrition to those in need in our communities.

While the Christmas Offering may have ended but that doesn't mean things are idle here at the Humanitarian Service Project. Everyone at HSP is chugging along to best serve the needy seniors, children, and families in our programs. It takes the generosity of community members, like the Bloomingdale-Roselle Kiwanis and Caputo’s, to enable HSP to keep our programs moving. If you are interested in learning how you too can get move involved with HSP, please check out our website: http://humanitarianservice.org/

Thursday, December 26, 2013

HSP’s Christmas Roundup

While this may look like a sea of gifts, 
thanks to our supporters, HSP distributed 
several times this amount of gifts through 
the Christmas Offering this year!
With the dust settled from the Christmas Offering, we at HSP wanted to take this time to update all of our supporters on how it went. Thanks to the assistance of everyone who volunteered their time or donated food, gifts, toys or money, this year’s Christmas Offering was the largest ever. While a few needy families will still be dropping in the next few days to pick up the last remaining gifts, we have already distributed gifts to over 1750 impoverished children. On top of reaching so many needy children with gifts, we also distributed over 20 tons of nutritious groceries to families, and gifts to 125 needy senior citizens!

 With months of preparation going into the program, so many people contributed to the success of the Christmas Offering through volunteering, providing monetary support, or conducting food/ toy drives. In fact, we’ve still had generous donations coming in this week, including a whole trunk load of toys donated by our neighbors the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association, and a whole van full of gifts from Aurora Fire Station #12.

We want to thank the hundreds of supporters who helped make Christmas Offering 2013 so successful. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to not only provide gifts and much needed groceries, but also spread the spirit of compassion and joy to the neediest members of our communities.

Monday, December 23, 2013

HSP Bids Bon Voyage to a Terrific Trio of Interns

Rebecca (2nd from left,) Elizabeth (3rd from left,) Brennan
(4th from left)
With Christmas just two short days away, HSP is finishing off the final touches of our Christmas Offering today. With the program successfully completed, HSP would like to take this opportunity to bid farewell to three wonderful interns who contributed so much to the Christmas Offering. Last Friday was the final day for our Project Management Interns Rebecca Megchelsen and Elizabeth Meier, and our Accounting Intern Brennan McClung. Each of these interns used their talents in their own unique way to help us serve needy seniors, children, and their families this Christmas.

Rebecca was involved in numerous projects in her time here at HSP, not the least of which was securing toy drives for the needy children we serve. Rebecca’s efforts on this project contributed greatly to HSP’s ability to serve over 1700 needy children through the Christmas Offering! She also assisted with organizing our Christmas waiting list, and working with the needy families enrolled in our Children’s Birthday Program. In a few weeks, Rebecca will return to Dordt College after being off campus for a semester completing her internship. We hope her experiences at HSP will serve her well in her return to school.

In the way that Rebecca was tasked with recruiting toy drives, Elizabeth was in charge of securing food drives to help us feed impoverished families and seniors. Elizabeth did a phenomenal job, working hand in hand with our donors to provide an amazing amount of food for our needy clients. Elizabeth also lent her support in a number of other ways in her time at HSP including contributing to HSP’s blog and newsletter. Elizabeth attends Elmhurst College where she is double majoring in Business Administration and Management, and we know she is going to go far.

Last but not least is Brennan McClung, our Accounting Intern. Brennan spent his time at HSP working directly with HSP’s CFO and Co-founder, Floyd Kettering, assisting him with all of HSP’s accounting needs. Brennan went above and beyond the call of duty this month, by also assisting in the HSP warehouse lending instrumental support by leading volunteer groups and otherwise preparing for the Christmas Offering. Brennan also attends Elmhurst College where he further proves how multitalented he is by being an Accounting student and a member of the baseball team.

These three interns all proved incredibly instrumental around the office during this busy Christmas season. We will miss them not only for their talent and work ethic, but for their cheerful personalities. Please join us in thanking them for all they’ve done, and wishing them all success as they go on to other exciting chapters of their lives.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Toy Donations for Needy Children

Benjamin Middle School Toy Drive
          Today HSP received two amazing toy donations, which will go to needy children in our programs! The first was from Benjamin Middle School in West Chicago. The student council ran a school wide toy drive and collected nine boxes of donations. The school has been a great supporter of HSP for years, holding food and toy drives for the needy seniors and children we serve.

Just Energy Toy Donation

The second generous toy donation came from Just Energy in Westmont. Just Energy raised $6000 and then used the funds to purchase toys for needy children. This morning, employees of Just Energy went to Target in Lombard to pick out and purchase toys for children in the Christmas Offering and Children’s Birthday Project (CBP). They filled 15 shopping carts with toys. One of our volunteer drivers, Dean Senne, picked up the donation which completely filled our van.  
The toys donated today will be used in the Christmas Offering and Children’s Birthday Project. The Christmas Offering provides gifts of toys and books to needy children. Even a week after the Christmas Distribution began, needy families on our Christmas waiting list are still coming in to the HSP Center to pick up Christmas gifts. Generous donations like the ones that came in today are the reason we have been able to serve so many needy families on the waiting list.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Seniors and Families Receive Their Christmas Gifts

Today, HSP delivered Christmas gifts to the 123 needy seniors in our program! Volunteer drivers have been coming to the HSP Center all day to pick up the gifts provided by donors and deliver them to the seniors. All of the seniors in our Senior Citizen Project received Christmas gifts. HSP would like to say a big thank you to the drivers, the donors, and to Ginna, our dedicated volunteer “Secret Pal” coordinator who organized all the senior Christmas gifts.
SCP coordinator, Michelle, with volunteer drivers
 In addition, HSP began giving out the Christmas gifts to needy families on our Christmas waiting list today. Between today and tomorrow, 177 families will be coming to our center to pick up their bags of Christmas gifts. All the sets of gifts include toys and books, and some include coats, hats, and gloves for the children. Thank you everyone who donated gifts. Your support enabled us to give to more deserving waiting list families this year than ever before!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Offering Status: Full Steam Ahead

The Christmas Offering is moving full steam ahead here at HSP. With our Gift Distribution Day to needy families being such a success yesterday, we at HSP are preparing to do it all again tomorrow. We will be distributing Christmas gifts to the 123 impoverished seniors in our Senior Citizen Project, as well as serving 177+ needy families who were placed on our Christmas waiting list. With all the excitement going on here, we at HSP wanted to take this opportunity to recognize some of the donors who have continued to generously provide gifts for these needy seniors and families.

The Kids of Chesterbrook Academy in Lisle
Yesterday, our volunteers Rich and Zindy Patera graciously headed to downtown Chicago to pick up gifts from the employees at Lincoln Properties. This has been a Christmas tradition at Lincoln Properties since 2008. This year, the employees were sure in the gift giving spirit as they provided gifts for 50 needy children and 20 seniors! These gifts were joined today by another generous donation from Chesterbrook Academy in Lisle who generously donated gifts for 54 needy children. Because of all the thoughtful donors like these, we at HSP are on track to serve, at least, 1700 needy children this year through the Christmas Offering!

             In addition to these donations from Lincoln Properties and Chesterbrook Academy, today we received a surprise, but very welcome, visit from Giovanni Long. Giovanni is an 8 year old from Addison, who decided he wanted to spend his piggy bank on giving Ch

ristmas gifts for needy kids. Giovanni raised around $200 which he used to buy games and toys for impoverished children. Giovanni said that he plans to keep donating to help kids in need.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Take Two!

Christmas gift distribution carries on today.  Our second distribution day at the HSP center will serve several hundred children in 158 impoverished families with gifts for Christmas.  Additionally, the families will be receiving holiday meal boxes which include holiday staples such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and more.  We were also able to provide a number of these families with turkeys and packages of citrus fruit and salad were available for the ones not receiving turkeys.

            To help out with this great undertaking, many volunteers are here today to lend a hand!  In addition to individual volunteers, we also have groups from Clarke Environmental, Naperville Junior Woman’s Club and Tek Systems volunteering their time at the center.  The volunteers are braving the snowy weather to load up the families’ cars with all of the outgoing gifts. 

            Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers for helping out with another successful distribution day!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Christmas Offering has Begun!

We at HSP are happy to report that the first Distribution Day of the Christmas Offering was a huge success! Despite the snowy weather, we had a remarkably smooth and successful event, thanks to all our hardworking and committed volunteers. We distributed Christmas gifts and 250 lbs of food each to 150 of the neediest families in the project.
            The Christmas Offering continues tomorrow, which is our next Distribution Day! Tomorrow, we will be distributing gifts to hundreds of needy children in 158 more families in our Christmas Offering. Today, two groups and some individual volunteers came in to help us with some last minute preparations. Fourteen volunteers from Cadence Health and four from United Stationers enthusiastically set up the warehouse floor with all the gifts for Distribution Day and some of the gifts for the needy families on our waiting list.

            Thank you to all our volunteers and donors who make it possible for us to serve these very deserving families this Christmas.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Offering Begins Tomorrow!

Kindercare Volunteers
Today is a very exciting and busy day for HSP as we make the final preparations for tomorrow –the first Distribution Day of the Christmas Offering! Tomorrow, 150 needy families will receive Christmas gifts and 250 lbs of food each. These families will be coming to our center throughout the day tomorrow as HSP’s staff and volunteers load their cars with this joyous holiday bounty.
Girl Scout Troop 1873
Several volunteer groups are coming in today to help get everything completely ready. Volunteers from Kindercare, Chubb Insurance Group, and Girl Scout Troup 1873, helped with tasks such as sorting the fresh produce to go to impoverished families, as well as food and gift sorting.
In addition to the exciting preparations for tomorrow, we are also delivering Christmas gifts to 163 needy children at Lake Park Elementary School in Addison. Many of Lake Park’s students live in poverty and are served by our Children’s Birthday Project throughout the year. Today, we are distributing Christmas gifts for these needy children at the school. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

T-Minus Two Days to the Christmas Offering

With the first distribution of our Christmas Offering only two short days away, things are certainly busy here at HSP. Thankfully a number of wonderful volunteers have graciously lent their assistance over the past couple of days, to help us prepare. We’d like to take this opportunity to recognize volunteer groups who took the time to aid us in spreading joy to the needy seniors, children, and families served by the program.

The group from the Theosophical Society with a
number of HSP's regular volunteers
Yesterday, we hosted three great volunteer groups in our warehouse. In the morning, four volunteers from the Theosophical Society in Wheaton helped us sort and organize Christmas gifts that will be distributed to needy children over the next couple weeks. In the early afternoon, they were joined by three volunteers from Journeycare, a nonprofit hospice service. Later on, we had six volunteers from our friends at Insight Inc. in Bloomingdale, who helped us set up our warehouse with the gifts and over 18 tons of nutritious food that will be distributed to 150 needy families this Saturday.

The volunteers from Insight Inc.
The excitement continued today with two volunteer groups lending their support to our program as well. These six volunteers from the Schaumburg office of Colorado Technical Institute came in this morning, and nine volunteers from Hitachi joined us this afternoon. These great groups helped us sort and load up Christmas gifts for the needy children we serve at Lake Park Elementary school in Addison. These gifts will be delivered to Lake Park Elementary tomorrow to be given out to the children.

This year is shaping up to be HSP’s biggest Christmas Offering ever! We want to thank these great volunteer groups, and everyone else who has supported our Christmas Offering, for helping us make a difference in the lives of the neediest members of our communities!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

HSP Says Goodbye to a Great Intern

Pat (fourth from right)
Today as we at HSP are continuing the final preparations for our Christmas Offering, which begins this Saturday, we are taking the time to bid farewell to an intern who provided a lot of support to the program. Today is the final day for our intern Patrick McGarry, who will be moving on to a substitute teaching position tomorrow. While Pat has been a member of HSP’s internship team for just shy of two months, he has done a lot of wonderful work for the sake of the needy senior citizens, children, and families we serve, in that short period of time.

Among the many things Pat had his hands in at HSP, Pat helped us get the word out to the community about our programs by writing press releases, brochures, mailings, and contributed to HSP’s social media accounts. Pat also lent his assistance to our upcoming Christmas Offering program, scheduling and communicating with our volunteers and the needy families who will be served by the program. Pat always took on any assignment we gave him with a positive attitude and showed that he truly cared about making an impact in the lives of the impoverished seniors, children, and families we serve. We will certainly miss his hard work and personality around the office. Please join us in bidding best wishes to Pat.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Offering Brings Volunteers to HSP

Volunteers from LaForce Inc.
          As the Christmas Offering inches closer and closer, we’ve been host to a multitude of volunteer groups, who have graciously lent their hands, helping us prepare the gifts and food to be distributed to the needy families, children, and seniors served this holiday season.

          Yesterday, we welcomed several volunteers from Laforce Inc. in Willowbrook, nine members of the Lions Club of Roselle, and fourteen youth volunteers from St. Isidore in Bloomingdale.  Today we have volunteers from the Association of Professional Chaplains, and members of the Kiwanis Club of Willowbrook – Burr Ridge; all ready to spread Christmas cheer.

Helpful youth volunteers from St. Isidore
          All of our volunteers have been busily helping us prepare for the upcoming pick-up date this Saturday.  Some groups helped sort food while listening to classic holiday tunes, while others organized gifts in a manner that would make Santa’s elves proud.  With the season of giving in full swing here at HSP, we would like to thank all of our volunteers for giving their time and efforts to helping us give Christmas to the neediest members of our community.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thank You Boxing Party Volunteers!

This weekend was a very busy and important one for us at HSP! On Saturday, we had both the December delivery day for the seniors we serve and the Christmas Boxing Party. We couldn’t have done it without our amazing and dedicated volunteers. At the Christmas Boxing Party, 54 volunteers came to sort and bag toys for families in the Christmas Offering. In just three hours, the volunteers had finished organizing, sorting, and bagging toys for 250 of the families receiving gifts through the Christmas Offering. Preparing all the gifts for these families is a huge undertaking and would not be possible without the help of our incredible volunteers.
Divine Savior Parish Giving Trees
Then, on Sunday, we received an enormous donation from Divine Savior Parish. The Parish provided a gift for 115 of the seniors in our program, and giving trees for 320 children in the Christmas Offering! We are so thankful for their generosity and for their faithful support throughout the years.
Through the Christmas Offering, HSP gives gifts to all the children enrolled in the Children’s Birthday Project and to their siblings. We also help as many families on our waitlist as we can. Right now, we have 478 children on our waitlist. In addition, 150 of the families served by the Christmas Offering also receive 3-4 weeks’ worth of groceries, including fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, meat, and non-perishable items. Thank you to all the volunteers and donors who give to help needy families and seniors through our Christmas Offering.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Twas the Day Before the Boxing Party (And Senior Delivery Day)

           The excitement continues here at HSP as we prepare for tomorrow’s Boxing Party and Senior Delivery Day and carry on with Christmas Offering preparations.  To help us prepare, a number of volunteers have contributed their time at the center today. 
            Among them was a group from Kia Motors of America and Initiative (a partnered ad agency of Kia).  The twenty-two volunteers spent their time sorting produce in preparation for tomorrow’s senior deliver day and helping with giving tree donations intake.  Their three and a half hours of work went a long way in helping us prepare for the eventful weeks that lay ahead of us!
            Two additional groups joining us today come from US Cellular and the Bloomingdale-Roselle Rotary Club.  The groups each consisted of eight people and volunteered five hours cumulatively.  They too helped process the intake of hundreds of giving trees and gift sorting. 
            The help of all of these groups, and the other various volunteers that contributed their time today played an essential role in preparing for tomorrow’s Boxing Party and Senior Citizen Delivery Day.  At the Boxing Party, we will be doing a final organization of all the gifts for the first group of families we are serving.  This includes sorting the gifts, checking that the gifts are complete and adding to any that aren’t and then bundling them by family to ensure easy distribution on December 14th and 17th

   Thank you again to all of the wonderful volunteers that helped out today!  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Giving Trees and Toy Drives for Impoverished Children

Today the Downers Grove North High School Direct Action club came in to volunteer with HSP. The club is organized and supervised by Karen Brown and Lisa Mangelsdorf. Not only did the club give their time to volunteer, they also brought a very generous donation. The club provided giving trees for an astounding 150 needy children and 25 impoverished seniors! All their contributions today are in addition to the fantastic food drive they brought in last month. The club volunteered in our warehouse sorting the giving trees they brought in and other donations.
One of the donations the group sorted was an incredibly successful toy drive Accurate Personnel delivered today. Accurate Personnel, located in Carol Stream, has been supporting HSP’s Christmas Offering through giving trees and toy drives for the last five years. This year was their biggest toy drive to date – they delivered two full vans of toys!
Both the giving trees and the toys brought in from the toy drive will be used for our Christmas Offering. All the children in the Christmas Offering receive Christmas gifts, and 150 of the neediest families receive 3-4 weeks’ worth of groceries, including fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, meat and non-perishable items, to help them get through the Christmas season. Last year, 1,636 children received gifts and 150 impoverished families received food.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Offering Preparation Marches On!

The HSP Center has been very busy this week as preparation for the Christmas Offering marches on!  Yesterday, we received a wonderful food donation from Kingsley Elementary School in Downers Grove.  Spearheaded by the Student Council, the donation was the result of a two week, school-wide food drive.  The students and staff divided and conquered with each grade collecting specific, assigned items from our suggested list.  In the end, they collected enough food to load up one of HSP’s cargo vans!  Their fantastic contribution will go a long way in feeding needy children and seniors this Christmas. 
            Today, the excitement continued with volunteers buzzing about the center.  The first group came from the School of Expressive Arts and Learning.  For two hours, the five students and two teachers worked industriously in the pantry helping to sort the recent food donations. The students from the school regularly volunteer their time at HSP and their efforts today will help us remain organized and efficient as the Christmas Offering approaches.  Thank you students for your continued support! 
The second group of volunteers joining us came from a Kindercare.  The group consisted of twelve leaders of local Kindercare centers.  The volunteers worked diligently for nearly four hours sorting potatoes and onions in preparation for the food deliveries HSP will be making to our seniors on Saturday.  Additionally, they sorted gifts and food for the children, and their family members, who will be served through our Christmas Offering.  The volunteers also generously brought several carloads worth of food to be donated for the Christmas Offering and Senior Citizen Project. 
Thank you to all of the volunteers and donations that have contributed to the Christmas Offering.  All of your help makes serving Christmas to these needy children and seniors possible!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Volunteers get in the Christmas Spirit

Although we just entered the month of December, Christmas is in full swing here at HSP.  Today we had a volunteers come in from a variety of groups and organizations.  They graciously donated their time to help us prepare for our 35th annual Christmas Offering doing a number of different tasks.
The group from Good Shepherd
            Three confirmation students and two parent chaperones, from Good Shepherd Methodist Church in Bartlett sorted non-perishable food packages for needy families served by our Christmas Offering.
            We also welcomed two volunteers from Rho Pi Phi, a service fraternity open to pharmaceutical students at Midwestern University, who helped us organize gifts.  This fraternity has made helping needy families by volunteering at HSP one of their holiday traditions and they certainly were in the Christmas spirit as they organized gifts for the needy children within our community.
The National Charity League group
            Five volunteers from the National Charity League (NCL), a mother-daughter service organization, took part in the holiday cheer here at HSP today, as well.  The NCL members spent their afternoon sorting food for the needy.  You can also be expecting to hear a lot more about the NCL as they will be helping us frequently this Christmas.

            We here at HSP would just like to thank all of the volunteers who generously donated their time and effort to helping make Christmas bright for the needy children and seniors in DuPage and Kane counties.  Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Preparations at HSP

Tis the season of giving…trees! December has begun, and so has the arrival of giving trees, pouring in from our donors. The giving trees are the presents for the children in the Christmas Offering. HSP is overwhelmed by the support and generosity of our donors. Thanks to the donors, we were able to give presents to 1636 children enrolled in the Christmas Offering in 2012. Even though the due date for regular giving trees is Dec. 6th, we will gladly receive giving trees for children on the waitlist until Dec. 13th. If you are interested in donating giving trees for children on the waitlist, please call us at 630-221-8340. 
We are continuing to prepare for the Christmas Offering, which is now only a couple weeks away. National Van Lines has allowed us to use one of their trailers for extra storage space. We are very thankful for their generosity which allows us to make room for all the great toys that have been donated! Our faithful volunteers, Dean Senne and Jeff Marker, have helped organize the giving trees that come in and set up places to put them both in our shipping room and in the trailer.