The Marrs-Meyer American Legion Post 991 Auxiliary's “Ton of Food” Drive was very successful this November, providing food for 52 families living within the Worth community.
By Kelly White
The Marrs-Meyer American Legion Auxiliary believes every child should have a Christmas filled with love, family, and some presents under the tree.
The auxiliary is hosting its annual, “Holiday Baskets for the Less Fortunate in Worth” again this holiday season. Through this generous program, donations of toys for “Toys for Worth Tots” can be made until Sunday, Dec. 15 at the Marrs-Meyer American Legion 991 Post, 11001 S. Depot St., in Worth.
The donated items, which can consist of new, unwrapped toys, school supplies, backpacks, or gloves, scarves, and hats for children ranging from ages birth to 16 years of age, will be turned into holiday gift baskets that were created by volunteers within the community for Sunday, Dec. 22.
These holiday baskets will then be distributed to families in need of help during the holidays. Everything is done anonymously to protect the identities of the families.
“The message behind this very powerful event is what it means to be part of a community,” said Bethanne Lode, secretary/treasurer and Holiday Baskets chairman for the Marrs-Meyer American Legion Auxiliary Unit 991. “I am honored to walk in the footsteps of the wonderful women of the auxiliary who banded together to teach their children and the community at large what it is to care for one another in times of need.”
Lode was one of six children of the late Edward Lode Sr. and Anne, who were charter members of the organization when it began back in January 1947. She began volunteering at the auxiliary at the young age of 6.
“All of my family members and I continue on in the tradition of service to the community and nation with great joy and gratitude as we were taught to do,” Lode said. “Many descendants of the Worth families originally involved continue to volunteer in great numbers even though they have married, started their own families or moved from the area. It is heartwarming to see them continuing the work of their parents and seeing their young children become involved as well.”
The holiday baskets are a collaborative effort that brings together organizations from between The Marrs-Meyer American Legion Post 991 family (Legion, Auxiliary, Sons and Riders members as a whole), The Lions Club and their affiliates, Boy and Girls Scouts, Worth Junior High School students, community leaders, police department, and many residents and non-members.
“I cannot express my amazement and gratitude to see so many of our community selflessly joining in to make someone’s holidays a little brighter,” Lode said.
“This is a great community event that helps our families in Worth,” said Village Clerk Bonnie Price.
The auxiliary also recently hosted its “Ton of Food” Drive through November where members gathered together with The Worth Lions Club, Cub and Boy Scouts, Worth Junior High School students, Worth police and many other volunteers for a food collection and food sorting event.
Items were then distributed to 52 Worth families on the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving Day. Non-perishable items that were not used for the food drive will be included in the holiday baskets, along with donations of toys and other miscellaneous items, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, cleaning products, and paper products.
Lode is planning to put together 53 holiday baskets this year with the help of the local community.
“It takes many volunteers and is a lot of hard work, but the results are always astounding,” Lode said.
Worth Lions Club member John Bruce said he looks forward to the giving season each year.
“My wife Maureen and I are happy to help every year,” said Bruce, of Chicago Ridge. “This is our way of giving back because life has been so good to us.”