Good News Sunday: United Way's 'Uniting for the Holidays' expects to help about 4,000 suburban families

Good News Sunday: United Way's 'Uniting for the Holidays' expects to help about 4,000 suburban families

  • "Uniting for the Holidays" is a program of United Way of Metro Chicago that provides holiday meals and more in a drive-through style event across the suburbs. One of the events took place last week outside the nonprofit Partners for Our Communities in Palatine.

    "Uniting for the Holidays" is a program of United Way of Metro Chicago that provides holiday meals and more in a drive-through style event across the suburbs. One of the events took place last week outside the nonprofit Partners for Our Communities in Palatine. Courtesy of Tate Samata

 
 
Posted11/28/2021 7:30 AM

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the more upbeat and inspiring stories published recently by the Daily Herald:

Thousands of holiday dinners and gifts for children are being distributed through mid-December by the nonprofit program "Uniting for the Holidays," which expects to reach about 4,000 families this season.

 

The program is offered by United Way of Metro Chicago, which works with local community partners to set up festive drive-through events where families are greeted by Santa and cheerful volunteers.

The program took place last week in Des Plaines and Palatine, and other events are set for the weeks to come in Elgin, West Chicago, Skokie, Harvey, Chicago Heights/Ford Heights and Blue Island/Robbins.

That's two more sites than last year, a nod to the program's success, said Kimberlee Guenther, chief impact officer at United Way of Metro Chicago.

"We found it was a just a great way to reach more families and to engage more volunteers," she said. "We're really fortunate to live in a generous community where people really want to help their neighbors whenever they can."

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The holiday dinners -- turkey, potatoes, green beans, gravy and cranberry sauce for those who participated last week -- are provided by Soul & Smoke in Des Plaines and Palatine, Northern Illinois Food Bank in West Chicago and Elgin, and Top Box Foods at the remaining locations.

For the full story, click here.

Glendale Heights native named his hometown's new police chief

Glendale Heights native George Pappas has been sworn in as the village's new police chief.
Glendale Heights native George Pappas has been sworn in as the village's new police chief. - Courtesy of the village of Glendale Heights

Glendale Heights has a new police chief, though he's certainly not new to Glendale Heights.

George Pappas is now officially at the helm of his hometown police department.

Village trustees appointed Pappas, who had been acting chief, to the permanent post, making him only the second top cop born and raised in Glendale Heights, officials say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

His roots there run deep. Pappas went to Reskin Elementary, Marquardt Middle and Glenbard North High schools. His mother, Beverly, is still a school crossing guard.

"Just being from this community, I believe in Glendale Heights," Pappas said Monday as he started his first full week as permanent chief. "I believe in the residents here. I believe in the businesses and the schools here."

He's focused on community interaction and developing relationships in Glendale Heights, a diverse suburb where nearly 32% of the population is Hispanic or Latino and 21% is Asian, the most recent census figures showed.

"People talk about community policing a lot, but they don't always follow through on it," Pappas said. "That's what I want to do, make sure we actually get out there and we are involved with our community."

For the full story, click here.

Batavia barber holds annual winter coat drive to help those in need

Craig Foltos, owner of Foltos Tonsorial Parlor in Batavia, collects clothing for the needy and donates them to local families or takes them to the Clothes Closet in Batavia for distribution.
Craig Foltos, owner of Foltos Tonsorial Parlor in Batavia, collects clothing for the needy and donates them to local families or takes them to the Clothes Closet in Batavia for distribution. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Craig Foltos has had plenty of patrons sitting in his barber chairs at Foltos Tonsorial Parlor in downtown Batavia over the past several decades.

Currently, he doesn't mind if one of those chairs has a bunch of winter clothing piled on it -- because that's where he's keeping used and new clothing items he collects annually for those in need.

In fact, Foltos has held the winter clothing drives for so many years that donors generally know to bring him used clothing in good shape most any time of the year.

"There is a big need for people in the community, so we take new or used coats, or anything," Foltos said. So "anything" would include snow pants, hats, gloves, scarves and boots.

"We do it every year until it is not cold out, then we do it again when it gets cold out," Foltos noted.

Foltos says he donates the clothes directly to people in need of help or takes them to the Clothes Closet at Batavia's Interfaith community food pantry.

For the full story, click here.

• Good News Sunday will run each weekend. Please visit dailyherald.com/newsletters to sign up for our Good News Sunday newsletter.

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