Good News Sunday: Northern Illinois Food Bank opens bigger distribution center in Green Oaks

  • Julie Yurko, president and CEO of the Northern Illinois Food Bank, speaks during the opening of its new north suburban distribution center in Green Oaks Tuesday.

      Julie Yurko, president and CEO of the Northern Illinois Food Bank, speaks during the opening of its new north suburban distribution center in Green Oaks Tuesday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted8/21/2022 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:

Rows of tall storage racks to hold a bounty of food have been bolted down and gleaming stainless steel prep tables readied for a surge in volunteers as the Northern Illinois Food Bank enters a new chapter serving Lake and McHenry counties.

 

The organization's new North suburban distribution center in the Green Oaks Business Park on Route 176, just east of Interstate 94, is much larger and more centrally located than its former home of 20 years in Park City.

As a supermarket of sorts for food pantries and other entities, the relocation and expansion has been in the works since fall to meet a continuing demand for food assistance.

The expansion comes as the organization across its service area is serving 30% more people on average each month than before the pandemic.

"Our emphasis and focus is to make sure we're tending to the pantries and soup kitchens as fast as we can," said Scott Keenan, North suburban center manager.

Keenan joined food bank executives and local officials Tuesday for an official grand opening. Work to convert the 28,000-square-foot warehouselike space started early this year. Distribution didn't stop in the interim, but the improved operation is ready to open full time.

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DuPage Habitat for Humanity makes homeownership a reality

DuPage Habitat for Humanity volunteers Scott Cimo, left, and Ryan O'Connor work on a townhouse project in Hanover Park. Since 1995 the agency has helped more than 105 families get their own homes.
  DuPage Habitat for Humanity volunteers Scott Cimo, left, and Ryan O'Connor work on a townhouse project in Hanover Park. Since 1995 the agency has helped more than 105 families get their own homes. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

When her friends talk about planning a vacation, Iris Bess tells them she's staying put in her West Chicago home.

For the first time in two decades, the 50-year-old woman has her own home, and her two teenage sons have their own bedrooms. She loves the corner lot, her yard and that she can see the sun in the morning from her bedroom window.

She moved into her home in May with the help of DuPage Habitat for Humanity.

"I'm very appreciative of Habitat," said Bess, who lives on a cul-de-sac that includes other DuPage Habitat for Humanity homes. "This is my vacation spot right here."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Since 1995 DuPage Habitat for Humanity has helped more than 105 families get their own homes.

It is one of five organizations to receive a $10,000 grant from the Daily Herald's Neighbors in Need Fund. Daily Herald readers raised $36,000 to benefit agencies that address homelessness, hunger and health care access. For every dollar raised, the McCormick Foundation donated 50 cents.

By the end of this summer, DuPage Habitat for Humanity will have two more homes ready for families in Hanover Park.

For the full story, click here.

Arlington Heights park is backdrop for kids' book about baseball

Arlington Heights author and hitting coach Paul Petricca signs copies of his new children's book "Going Going Gone!" after the July 4 parade near his house by Recreation Park.
Arlington Heights author and hitting coach Paul Petricca signs copies of his new children's book "Going Going Gone!" after the July 4 parade near his house by Recreation Park. - Courtesy of Paul Petricca

Paul Petricca has spent nearly three decades teaching hundreds of Little League, high school and college baseball and softball players how to hit.

Many of those lessons took place at Recreation Park, across the street from his house in Arlington Heights, where daughter Elaine and sons Ricky and Sam played.

Those experiences were the inspiration for Petricca's new book, "Going Going Gone!" -- which is as much a children's story as it is hitting manual.

The 36-page book, released in June by Archway Publishing, also includes illustrator Dan Vick's depictions of Arlington Heights locales, such as the Lloyd Meyer Field at Recreation Park and Grandt's Shell rocket (a long-standing local landmark until the gas station closed at the end of 2020).

In the story, young players Elaine and Ricky are taking batting practice at Recreation Park when they're swept away by a strange wind to another world. They land at a ballpark and are approached by a friendly alien, Sam, who wants to learn how to launch a ball into space.

The kids teach the green ballplayer the fundamentals of the swing until he hits one that's "going, going gone!"

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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