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DeKalb County residents help provide, prepare food for the needy

SYCAMORE – Amelia Simone, 13, said she loves helping people.

She was given a chance to do exactly that with about 350 of her friends Thursday evening at the St. Mary’s Builders Club in Sycamore.

“I love helping people, and I think this is one of the best ways to do it,” Amelia said.

Amelia said she thinks the organization Feed My Starving Children and the event Make a Difference DeKalb County MobilePack, are top notch.

Both organizations intend to fill about 1.5 million meals conisting of rice, soy, vegetables and vitamins throughout the four-day event at The Suter Company in Sycamore.

“It’s an amazing organization,” she said.

Chloe Walton, 13, is another person who just wants to help others.

“I enjoy doing these kinds of things,” Chloe said. “When I was in elementary school, I was in a club that would provide food to students in need.”

Chloe, who was working alongside her parents, Kevin and Jill, said she loves seeing the volunteer group’s persistence.

“My favorite thing is seeing everyone trying their hardest and putting this much work into helping other people’s lives,” she said.

Chad Bradford, who was with a few of his coworkers from 3M, said they all wanted to give back to the community.

“Feed My Starving Children provides a good chance for us to reach the other side of the world,” Bradford said. “It’s hard to do it face-to-face. It’s hard to see a child in another country. This is a great way to touch their lives in a positive way.”

Larry Schultz, a board member for Feed My Starving Children, has been involved in the MobilePack event in Sycamore since its inception in 2010.

“There’s just nothing better we can do with our time,” Schultz said. “It shows what a big heart this community has. I don’t want to miss any of it.”

Schultz has been involved in all shifts throughout the 10 years, too, so he clearly hasn’t missed anything, including the effect the charity has had on the world.

“Over the past 10 years, we’ve raised millions of dollars and we’ve had tens of thousands of volunteers all work for a goal that’s bigger than ourselves,” Schultz said.

He said the charity is going to pack more meals than it has before – and it needs each of the 5,828 sets of hands currently volunteering to make that happen.

Greg Howells, who with his wife, Sherri, founded the event Make a Difference DeKalb County MobilePack, said the numbers of packed meals have increased three times from 500,000 meals to 1.5 million meals. He said this year, the the event will have its 40,000th volunteer, who will pack the 10-millionth meal.

Ashley Meyer, said she wanted to give back to her community.

“It feels good to help people who can’t help themselves,” she said. “I have the time and strength to volunteer, so why not?”

Tim Suter, CEO of The Suter Company, said the four-day event has two shifts where there still are available spots. He said there are 18 openings between Friday’s 3 to 5 p.m. shift and 40 openings in Saturday’s 6 to 8 p.m. shift.

Although the shift is spent inside a warehouse, no one present appeared bored.

Volunteers were dancing, yelling for more ingredients as instructed. The music to inspire that dancing was a variety of pop music from The Beegees, Michael Jackson and Rick Astley, among many others.

Marge Johnson and Dixie Zander, who have been volunteering at the event for the past five years, said they love helping.

“It’s fun. It’s positive,” Johnson said. “I get to do something good for the community, and I’m with my friends. It’s a good way to spend two hours.”

In addition to the chance to feed children across the world, she and Zander said they also like the music being played.

“The music keeps us moving and happy,” Johnson said. “It keeps us grooving.”

Sam Schmitt, who was helping with volunteer registration, said she started working with The Suter Company because of its community outreach.

Schmitt said she was glad to see so many people volunteer Thursday.

“I think it’s amazing the number of people who come out here and support this,” Schmitt said. “It’s incredible.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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