Seniors get food delivery thanks to Salvation Army, donors in Elgin

  • After getting instructions from Salvation Army Capt. Heather Montenegro, right, volunteer Lorry Davies gives a thumbs-up en route to delivering food and home goods on Friday to the doorstep of seniors at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event organized by The Salvation Army in Elgin, in collaboration with Senior Services and local Rotary and Kiwanis groups.

      After getting instructions from Salvation Army Capt. Heather Montenegro, right, volunteer Lorry Davies gives a thumbs-up en route to delivering food and home goods on Friday to the doorstep of seniors at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event organized by The Salvation Army in Elgin, in collaboration with Senior Services and local Rotary and Kiwanis groups. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Volunteer Arturo Cruz carries a box of food to the car of a volunteer driver for a Salvation Army effort on Friday to bring food to the doorsteps of seniors in the Elgin area.

      Volunteer Arturo Cruz carries a box of food to the car of a volunteer driver for a Salvation Army effort on Friday to bring food to the doorsteps of seniors in the Elgin area. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Volunteer Liliane Jaimes of Algonquin loads food in to a truck at the Salvation Army in Elgin. The food was delivered by volunteers Friday to the doorstep of seniors at home during the COVID-19 crisis.

      Volunteer Liliane Jaimes of Algonquin loads food in to a truck at the Salvation Army in Elgin. The food was delivered by volunteers Friday to the doorstep of seniors at home during the COVID-19 crisis. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/3/2020 5:09 PM

Dee Connors normally has to take four buses to get to the grocery store, a trip that has become a worrisome risk for her during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, all the Elgin resident had to do was open her front door to find a box of food and a box of home goods, delivered courtesy of The Salvation Army and other community partners in Elgin.

 

"It is fantastic," the 78-year-old said. "They put the instructions of what to do -- like what to do about the bleach with cups of water, wash the cans, take the cookies out of the box with gloves and dumping them in another can."

"It's nice knowing all the things they do for us."

Connors was among 70 seniors in Elgin and South Elgin who received doorstep deliveries on Friday. The food boxes, obtained by the Salvation Army, contained items such as gluten-free pasta, rice and beans, chocolate chip cookies, canned tuna, peanut butter, canned green beans plus a mix of fresh produce and refrigerated items.

The home goods boxes, packed by volunteers on Friday morning and sponsored by a $500 grant from the Elgin Noon Rotary Club, contained four rolls of toilet paper, one roll of paper towels, dish soap, anti-bacterial hand soap, laundry detergent and a bottle of bleach. The Elgin Breakfast Rotary Club and the Kiwanis Club of Elgin also participated in the effort.

The seniors who received the boxes are clients of Senior Services Associates, a nonprofit in downtown Elgin that typically hosts a mobile food pantry once a month offered by Food for Greater Elgin.

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"It's such a blessing," said Peggy Gomez, of Senior Services Associates. "We had seniors crying, thanking us, just saying how grateful they are."

Rick Reigner, resource development director for The Salvation Army in Elgin, said seniors are especially hesitant to leave their homes due to the pandemic, so this was a way to provide services where they are most needed.

Elgin resident Jeanette Jackson, 67, said she cooked asparagus for the first time after finding a bundle in her box at her doorstep.

"It's such a warm, kind gesture that's involved during this pandemic that we are in," she said. "I am newly diagnosed as a diabetic and this is getting me into the routine of eating more fresh and more nutritious food."

Elgin resident Kathy Kemph, 75, said she was especially happy to get toilet paper and paper towels. "I thought it was wonderful," she said.

The Salvation Army at 316 Douglas Ave. in Elgin also continues to hold food distribution from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Volunteers place food boxes in people's cars and ask those who come by foot to keep a six-foot distance while in line.

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