Sunday funday to benefit local families in need
Last updated 10/30/2019 at 3:44pm | View PDF
Nancy Nyheim thought she knew her community pretty well when she was introduced to HCS Family Services as a volunteer four years ago. Like many Hinsdaleans, she was surprised to learn that DuPage County is home to the second-highest food insecure population in the state. And also like many Hinsdaleans, Nyheim became committed to doing something about it.
Now on staff as the volunteer coordinator at HCS, Nyheim said the second annual Blues, Brews & Barbecue event is an easy and fun way for Hinsdaleans of every age to help fill the shelves of the HCS food pantries and the tables of their neighbors in need.
Blues, Brews & Barbecue will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, at The Community House in Hinsdale. Thanks to the generosity of 46 community sponsors, all money raised will go directly toward stocking the shelves of the pantries in the busy months to come.
It's only happened once before, but Nyheim said the Blues, Brews & Barbecue event already is among her favorites. She suspects the casual character of this family-friendly event has much to do with its success.
"I love it because you can roll off the couch after watching football and not have to change your clothes," Nyheim said.
Guests are invited to enjoy food by Sweet Baby Ray's, beers from Motor Row Brewery in Chicago and live music by the Original Chicago Blues All-Stars, all while dressed for a cozy Sunday afternoon with friends.
Hinsdale resident and HCS board member Bob Lassandrello came up with the idea for Blues, Brews and Barbecue last year. He owns Motor Row Brewery, where the All-Stars lead an open jam session every Thursday night.
The first event drew more than 350 people - a number Nyheim expects to see or even surpass this time around.
In a further effort to keep things simple, the event does not include an auction. Guests will, however, be able to purchase items from a pantry "shopping list." Donors can choose to provide things like diapers, a grocery cart full of food or three months' worth of milk and eggs for a local family.
The HCS pantries, located in Hinsdale's Memorial Hall and at Anne M. Jeans School near Willowbrook, provide about 600,000 pounds of rescued, donated and purchased food to 1,000 families each year.
The Hinsdale pantry is open three times a week, providing essentials for about 450 families from 24 communities in DuPage and Cook counties.
The pantry at Anne M. Jeans is one of the first in Illinois to be located inside a school and serves between 50 and 75 families each week.
Nyheim said demand for the two HCS Family Services food pantries will increase in the months to come. As heating bills go up, families are left with less money for food and other essentials.
"People are one paycheck away from needing a food pantry," Nyheim said. "That's why we are here.