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Local

Volunteers help DeKalb County Community Gardens feed about 1,000 people

Nan Long (left), Dan Kenney with the DeKalb County Community Gardens and Pat Bastian  during the food giveaway Tuesday at one of the stops at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Hinckley.
Nan Long (left), Dan Kenney with the DeKalb County Community Gardens and Pat Bastian during the food giveaway Tuesday at one of the stops at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Hinckley.

DeKALB – About 50 volunteers helped DeKalb County Community Gardens donate about 7,000 pounds of food to various locations throughout the county.

Dan Kenney, founder and executive director for DeKalb County Community Gardens, said it was very encouraging and heartwarming to see the number of people who wanted to help.

“Every place we went, there were volunteers waiting to receive us,” Kenney said.

Heather Edwards, associate director for DeKalb County Community Gardens, said the organization and its volunteers donated 6,953 pounds of perishable and nonperishable food. In addition to the food, as part of “Giving Tuesday,” $5,675 was donated to help those in need as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the DeKalb County Community Gardens’ website.

She said there were a lot of canned foods such as kidney beans, pinto beans, stewed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. The organization also donated apples, onions and carrots.

The organization made what Kenney calls “drop and go” stops, meaning they dropped off the food at 12 locations in DeKalb, Malta, Kirkland, Kingston, Waterman, Sandwich and Hinckley. There were volunteers at those locations to make sure the food was distributed.

“It was very powerful to see all the people waiting for the food in Sandwich and Waterman,” he said about two of the towns where DeKalb County Community Gardens transported food Tuesday. “There were dozens of people waiting for the truck.”

The only venue without a “drop and go” was the DeKalb County Health Department. Kenney, his staff and the volunteers placed the food on tables, as the nonprofit does every week. He said the people can grab the food there if they need it.

Kenney said people in need could sign in for a mobile drop in four locations: Kingston, Malta, Waterman and Sandwich.

Kenney said those in need could sign in and tell the volunteers how many people were in their household. That’s how Kenney will soon know an exact number of people the organization and the volunteers helped.

“We probably served 1,000 people,” Kenney estimated.

The people who needed the food were grateful, Kenney said.

“One woman in Sandwich gave me a big hug and she said, ‘God bless you,’ ” Kenney said. “We hear that quite often. We hear a lot of thank-yous.”

The organization donates food every month although not in the quantity that it donated Tuesday.

“The support we had from the community was absolutely amazing,” Edwards said.

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