'Battle of the Boards' food drive has dual purpose

Series: Battle of the boards | Story 2

A good idea is a good idea.

So we don’t mind that the “Battle of the Boards” food drive — launching this week to benefit HCS Family Services — originally was suggested by one of our Reader Advisory Board members, Rich Ciccarone.

Nor do we mind that the initial concept was improved upon with input first from HCS Executive Director Amy Wickstrom and then from the adults who work with the participating junior boards in town.

This collaboration has resulted in an exciting initiative — a seven-week food drive that officially kicks off this week with a collection at the Hinsdale Humane Society Tuthill Pet Rescue & Resource Center (see the ad on Page 15 for details).

When we first approached Wickstrom, we wanted to create a food drive that would engage the whole community, and thought about partnering with an individual entity. Working with junior boards proved to be an even better idea. Some of the responsibilities that typically are handled by junior board members — such as planning fundraising events — are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we talked, we also realized that organizing the food drive in this way would give us the chance to let readers know about each of the junior boards in conjunction with the drive. We will profile one junior board on Page 7 each Thursday before that group’s collection effort.

Drives over the next six weekends will be led by junior boards from the Hinsdale Hospital Foundation, The Community House, the Hinsdale Junior Woman’s Club, HCS, Infant Welfare Society and the Hinsdale Historical Society.

To create a little friendly competition, The Hinsdalean is donating two full pages of ads to the winning junior board, which they can use to publicize an upcoming event. We also will make a $1,000 donation to HCS Family Services in their name.

With all of our excitement about working with the junior boards, we can’t forget how dire the need for food is right now.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as many as 42 million people might face hunger in this country, including more than 13 million children. In DuPage County alone, there are 55,070 people experiencing food insecurity.

HCS has seen a 170 percent increase in need since the onset of the pandemic. Many of these people are first-time visitors who never expected they would need assistance, but now do. Those clients visit HCS at one of its two food pantries. One is located in the Memorial Building at 19 E. Chicago Ave., and the second is a school-based pantry at the Anne M. Jeans School in Willowbrook. The pantries serve residents in Hinsdale and 24 neighboring towns.

This “Battle of the Boards” food drive is a unique invitation for residents to accomplish two things at once — support the junior board members who are working hard to make a difference in this community and help feed the hungry. We can’t wait to see the response!