Northern Illinois Food Bank opens a larger distribution center in Green Oaks

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

Rows of tall storage racks for an abundance of food have been bolted up and gleaming stainless steel prep tables prepared for a flood of volunteers as the Northern Illinois Food Bank opens a new chapter for Lake and McHenry counties.

The organization’s new suburban distribution center north of the city at Green Oaks Business Park off Route 176, just east of Interstate 94, is much larger and more centrally located than its previous 20-year Park City location.

A supermarket of sorts for food supplies and other facilities, the move and expansion has been in the works since the fall to meet the ongoing demand for food aid.

The expansion comes as the organization serves an average of 30% more people in its coverage area each month than before the pandemic.

“Our priority and our focus is to make sure we take care of the pantries and soup kitchens as quickly as possible,” said Scott Keenan, manager of the North Suburban Center.

Keenan met with food bank executives and local officials for an official opening on Tuesday. Work to remodel the 28,000-square-foot warehouse-like space began earlier this year. Distribution has not stopped in the meantime, but the improved operation is ready to open all day.


For the full story click here.

DuPage Habitat for Humanity makes home ownership a reality

Scott Cimo, left, and Ryan O’Connor, the DuPage Habitat for Humanity volunteers, 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

As her friends discuss planning a vacation, Iris Bess tells them she’s staying at her home in West Chicago.

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

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

“I really appreciate Habitat,” said Bess, who lives in a cul-de-sac that includes other DuPage Habitat for Humanity homes. “This is my vacation spot.”

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

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 for organizations working on homelessness, hunger and access to health care. For every dollar raised, the McCormick Foundation donated 50 cents.

By the end of this summer, DuPage Habitat for Humanity will complete two more family homes in Hanover Park.

For the full story click here.

Arlington Heights Park served as the setting for a children’s book about baseball

Arlington Heights author and hitting coach Paul Petricca signs copies of his new children's book

Arlington Heights author and hitting coach Paul Petricca signs copies of his new children’s book, “Going Going Gone!” after the July 4th parade near his home at 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 bat.

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

These experiences were the inspiration for Petricca’s new book, Going Going Gone!. — this is a children’s story as well as a manual.

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

In the story, young gamers Elaine and Ricky are practicing batting at the recreation park when they are carried to another world by a strange wind. 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 baller the basics of the swing until he hits one that “go, go away!”

For the full story click here.

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