Operation Care Package. This organization started with Debbie and Pat over 10 years ago. Debbie is in Missouri and DJ is keeping things going. Wreaths Across America December 17th this year. Donations sheets are available. Operation Care Package has been preparing boxes for those serving our country since 2003. They will send 400 boxes this holiday season. Volunteer opportunities are available – the day after Thanksgiving through December 6th. They make up 150 boxes a week all year long and postage was over $120,000. They are also working on stocking for every soldier. We donated $706.00 to Operation Care Package.
Strike Out Cystic Fibrosis - Team Harper – Michelle Thompson joined us and she is running the fundraiser in honor of her great niece. Harper is a soldier and is fighting with all of the symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis at the age of three.
Manhattan Food Pantry is the organization that we collected for this month. We want everyone to know that all of the food pantries in our communities need our support. This is “Hunger Action Month” and our pantries across the Lincoln Way area are busy and serving people in need.
Karen Reczek from the Lincolnway Special Recreation Association noted that they have a new building in New Lenox that is all handicap accessible for their clients. They are located at 1900 Heather Glen Drive, New Lenox, 60451 and they serve Frankfort, Manhattan, Mokena, New Lenox, Peotone and Wilmington Island Park Districts. They provide programs for people with disabilities ranging in age from 3-83. The have sporting and social activities. They have Special and Para Olympics as well as cooking and drama classes. They are also offering adult day programs daily from 9am-2pm. They serve over 327 participants and anyone is welcome to stop by for a tour. We collected $450 and Karen offered to put the resources towards their scholarship programs since our mission is to raise money for scholarship! www.lwsra.org
Reclaim13 works towards a world where all children are safe from abuse and exploitation. They currently have a house “The Cherish House” that is a part of their vision to create a safe, healing place for trafficked children. Cassandra Ma, Executive Director for ReClaim13 noted that most girls are taken at the age of 13. Cassandra Ma started Compassionate Community for children which is now known as ReClaim13 which is helping children who have been victims of trafficking and have no community. With the efforts of many people Cherish House was opened. It is a place for girls who have been victims of trafficking within the United States as close as right her in Illinois. They are trafficked to make money for their abusers. The cycle is difficult to break because many of these girls are “lockout” girls who have no one looking for them. Their abusers want to get them back. The girls often believe that they are not victims. They are a part of what they are doing for someone who is harming them. The program at The Cherish House is designed to be a community where these girls can start a new life. The house can have up to 10 girls at one time. They are limited by DCFS. Do their families find them? FBI does 168 children nationally. 13 Girls in Illinois, and no one was looking for them. They were lockout girls. www.reclaim13.org
Dr. Geraldine Palmer of South Suburban PADS joined us. SSPADS is working toward ending homelessness. Dr. Palmer noted that the shelters are for people in crisis, but that ending homelessness is about helping people find housing. The face of homelessness has changed and it is not the stereo typical view of someone with a cart. These are people making decisions between a medical bill and food or a car repair and rent. These individuals have college educations, or are working on them, but one event can move someone into a spiral ending in homelessness. Supporting the Housing First model, SSPADS is now providing housing options to support clients transition from homelessness to self-sustainability. In addition, they provide support services including case managers to help individuals work through the issues that cause them to become homeless. SSPADS is always looking for volunteers. In addition, if you would like to see their new facility, they are hosting an Open House May 7th and everyone is welcome to visit the new facility. www.sspads.org
Benefit for Jeff Bielski
Diane Carroll came to our meeting and educated us on her organization, My Joyful Heart. My Joyful Heart is a unique children’s charity that provides both life’s necessities and encouragement to Chicago area children in need. We are not a “one-size-fits-all” organization – we personalize the gifts and notes given to children enrolled in our program. We provide these kids with necessities throughout the year, not only at Christmas. By remembering the children consistently throughout the year we want them to feel special and let them know that people do care…we bring hope. You can find this organization on Facebook and the link for more information you may click this link, www.myjoyfulheart.org
Frankfort Township Food Pantry asked for our support by providing gift cards for the kids who’s
families visit the pantry. There are currently 300 families visiting the pantry monthly and the numbers are growing. To donate visit the Frankfort Township.
Debbie Smother spoke to us about Wreaths Across America. Although Debbie founded Operation Care Package, she is also heading up the efforts for Wreaths Across American locally to support the efforts to place wreaths on veteran’s graves at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood. There are over 40,000 veterans buried at the cemetery and last year there were about 6,500 wreaths placed on graves. Each year the program is growing but they would eventually like to be able to place wreaths at every veteran’s grave. The ceremony for placing the wreaths is on December 12th, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. this year if anyone is interested in attending. They have raised $355.00 towards the project. Each wreath is $15.00 so they will be placing over 23 wreaths on veteran’s graves.
Jim Elliott from Diveheart.org spoke to us tonight about the great work his organization is doing for Veterans and other adults and children with disabilities. Diveheart's mission is To build confidence, independence and self-esteem in the lives of children, adults and veterans with disabilities through scuba diving, scuba therapy and related activities.
Rita Facchina, Executive Director of CASA of Will County spoke to our group tonight. The ultimate goal of CASA is to help ensure that every child lives in a safe and permanent home.
Each month, the Lincoln-Way Area Business Women's Organization (LWABWO) spotlight an individual or group who is making a difference in the Lincoln-Way Area community. We are educated in their cause/concerns/journey. If interested in promoting your business/journey/organization, please contact one of our organization members or leave your information in our Contact Us page.
Here are our past recipients: