Juniorettes win the Battle of the Boards

Seven junior boards collect more than six tons of food, almost $2,500, in initiative

No one really knew what to expect.

But the totals are in - and the Battle of the Boards food drive to benefit HCS Family Services brought in 12,549 pounds of food and $2,458.

"Thank you to all the junior boards for the real impact they have made on our mission – we couldn't do it without you," said Wendy Michalski, executive director of HCS Family Services. "12,549 pounds of food donated equates to 10,458 meals to feed our community. For every dollar raised by the junior boards, we purchase $8 worth of nutritious pantry staples. We are so grateful for their participation in our mission."

The Juniorettes, the junior board of the Hinsdale Junior Woman's Club, won the contest, collecting 4,781 pounds of food.

"I'm so thrilled to learn that we won Battle of the Boards," said Laura Armstrong, a seventh-grader at Hinsdale Middle School. "I was trying to do my best to be able to get as many donations and help out the community as much as I could."

She said she was heartened by community members' response.

"I am just so lucky and happy to see there were so many people who wanted to contribute to the Battle of the Boards and help us win and the ultimate goal of helping others and helping families."

Armstrong was surprised to hear the total amount of food and money raised.

"That's amazing!" she said. "Oh my gosh! I'm so glad we could do this."

She said Denise Marron, the junior board chair, inspired the Juniorettes to get engaged in the drive. Marron also was thrilled with the results.

"I'm excited for everybody and I'm happy to be helping the community," she said. "Great things happen when people come together."

Camryn Saltzman, president of the HCS Junior Board, agreed the totals were impressive.

"I think it's really cool we saw the community come together for this and all the junior boards willing to come together and support HCS is great," Saltzman said.

Her junior board decided to opt out of the competition and conduct a virtual food drive, collecting donations online.

"Especially during the pandemic, it was a great way to reach out to friends and family for donations at this time of need," she said.

At the beginning of the pandemic, HCS saw a notable increase in the need for food, Saltzman said.

"While we see numbers coming back down at the food pantry, we still see a significant need, as always," she said. "There is a lot of food insecurity. We're happy to help as much as we can."

As part of the initiative, which was sponsored by The Hinsdalean, each junior board was profiled on Page 7 the Thursday before it conducted its drive.

"It was really cool to see the highlights from each junior board and learn more about them," Saltzman said.

As the winners, the Juniorettes will receive two free full-page ads in The Hinsdalean and the paper will make a $1,000 donation to HCS in the group's name.

Armstrong said she just appreciated the opportunity to help.

"I'm really happy I can make a difference. I'm super thankful that we were able to do this."

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean