Monday, January 14, 2013
Community of Congregations event to be held Jan. 31 at West Suburban Temple Har Zion
A program focusing on building cooperation among faith communities will be held on Jan. 31 at West Suburban Temple Har Zion, 1040 North Harlem Ave., River Forest. In Putting Faith in a Vision of the Common Good, the principal speaker will be Humaira Basithm, interim executive director of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. Also on the program will be Assaf Bar-Tura of the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative and Rabbi Robin Damsky, spiritual leader at West Suburban Temple. The event is part of the annual meeting of the Community of Congregations, an interfaith organization serving the Oak Park and River Forest area. A Middle Eastern buffet will be served at 6:30 p.m., which also will be the group's annual …
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Holiday Food and Gift Basket program get plenty of hands on deck to brighten Christmas for the needy.
Santa couldn't have done better than the effort of dozens of youngsters and adults who volunteered on Saturday to make this year's Holiday Food and Gift Basket program a success. In just over an hour United Lutheran Church went from being full of gifts to empty. Vans, sedans—even squad cars—lined up at the Ridgeland Avenue entrance of United Lutheran Church to grab gift bags and head off to deliver a bit of holiday joy to 2,200 individuals in Oak Park and River Forest in need of some help this holiday season. Members of the Oak Park and River Forest High School student council, adults, and young kids all helped out, from running bags to the church entrance, to loading cars and driving, said Patty Henek, the program's coordinator. "It all …
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Folks are dropping off bags of gifts, youngsters are wrapping presents - all for area needy.
It didn't take long on Saturday for United Lutheran Church to start buzzing. At 8:59 a.m., one minute before scheduled lift-off, Cindy Belle and her husband Roger drove up and dropped off two carloads of huge black plastic bags laden with gifts. The Holiday Food and Gift Basket program, which has been around since the 1970s, immediately began gathering up all the gift bags, which will be donated starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6 to families in need of a litte help this season. Newcomers and old-timers, moms toting kids and teens dragging bags—all were taking part in one of the Oak Park area's biggest programs benefitting needy families. "We started doing this 27 years ago. We're lifers at this," said Cindy Belle, of River Forest …
Thursday, November 15, 2012
The faith communities of Oak Park and River Forest will join this Sunday to worship at the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. The event will be at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18 at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake St.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Want to bring a bit of cheer to families in distress? Here's how.
Want to help bring a bit of joy to folks during the holiday season? Consider sponsoring a family with the Holiday Food & Gift Basket program. The longtime community giving effort is looking for individuals, organizations or businesses that can provide gifts for needy people in Oak Park and River Forest this December. The goal is to support all 2,200 individuals referred to them by social service agencies and churches in the area, said Patty Henek, the program coordinator. Sponsors are matched with a family who already has made out a holiday wish list. The wish list has each family member, whether it's a male or a female and their ages. The sponsors will get tags containing an alphanumeric code and the first name of the family member. Then …
Monday, November 12, 2012
Annual event organized by the Community of Congregations.
The faith communities of Oak Park and River Forest will come together next week to worship during the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. The program will be at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18 at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake St. Gen Kelsang Dorje, a Buddhist priest, will give the reflection. The Community of Congregations, an interfaith organization serving the greater Oak Park - River Forest area, sponsors the service. Worship is open to the public. Food will be served after the service. A collection will benefit the Holiday Food and Gift Basket Program and the Celebrating Seniors Coalition. Donations of non-perishable food items will also be received for the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Cold weather can't dampen spirits as volunteers brought joy to Holiday Food and Gift Basket program recipients.
All is calm at United Lutheran Church at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. It doesn't last long. By 7:45 a.m., a steady stream of volunteers arrive in their vehicles, and they're prepared to deliver packages to nearly 1,000 households as part of this year's Holiday Food and Gift Basket Program. Earlier: The Holiday Food and Gift Basket's Helping Hands "It's such a good thing that we can put up with the chaos. We'll survive," said a bemused Susan Stearns of River Forest. But it's clearly an organized chaos. Church pews usually reserved for worshippers were instead stuffed with hundreds of bags filled with wrapped presents. All of those bags were tagged and organized alpha-numerically, a result of the weeklong effort to sort donations. Despite …
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
It's the season for giving. What better way to help?
Looking to lend a hand this holiday season? Consider hooking up with the Holiday Food & Gift Basket program, the longtime community giving program that sends gift certificates for food and gifts to hundreds of low-income families in Oak Park and River Forest. Demand has dwindled a bit this year — about 950 households will be served this year, down from 971 last year — but organizers say that's more indicative of families leaving the area than it is of any economic recovery. Organizers say they're trying to shore up funding for the food certificate program, which provides gift cards for groceries to needy families and individuals, and sponsorships for the holiday gift program, in which sponsors provide gifts from a selected recipient's wish…