By Dermot Connolly
Marrs-Meyers American Legion Post 991 in Worth is planning “virtual” Poppy Days and Memorial Day events in compliance with social-distancing restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A no-contact food drive is also being held at the Marrs-Meyers post at 11001 S. Depot St. to replenish several area food pantries experiencing shortages — just some of the ways local communities are finding to keep the community spirit and traditions alive.
In Evergreen Park, the village Recreation Department is selling “EP Strong” lawn signs that residents and business owners can purchase for $20 to show support for all essential workers. All funds raised will buy meals from local restaurants for first responders. Beginning today, April 30, signs will be available for non-contact pick-up from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday to Friday in the Evergreen Park Community Center parking lot, 3450 W. 97 th St. People may pick up the signs after placing envelopes containing cash or checks in the black mailbox at the front door, with their names, address and phone number. Participants will be entered in a weekly drawing for a gift card from a local business.
“ We noticed what a fantastic job (Chicago’s) 19th Ward has been doing with a similar program and we wanted to find a way to thank Evergreen Park's first responders and essential workers who have helped to keep our town running so smoothly these last several weeks,” said Recreation Department program coordinator Kathy Sexton, who is running it with her colleague Jill Lynn.
In Worth, Bethanne Lode, secretary/treasurer of the Marrs-Meyer Auxiliary, said the food drive to replenish food pantries in Worth and neighboring communities began two weeks ago and will continue indefinitely
Donated cans and other non-perishable food items may be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the west entrance of the building at 11001 S. Depot St.
Lode and her team of volunteers have also found a way to hold a Virtual Poppy Day 2020, to replace the traditional event scheduled for May 21 to collect funds for veterans in need.
Donations will be collected online rather than outside stores and at intersections.
“Our veterans will always be there and the funds collected are critical to our mission to support our local heroes,” said Lode.
Details about the online event may be obtained on the post’s website at americanlegionpost991.org or its Facebook page.
The post is also planning to record a virtual Memorial Day ceremony in mid-May, which will be made available online.
“ It will be the full ceremony, with the Pledge of Allegiance, the 21-gun salute, and the bugler playing Taps,” said Lode. “Everyone will have matching facemasks so we will be uniform.”
Another traditional event, Worth’s Village-wide Garage Sale, has been rescheduled to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 17 and 18. It was moved from June, with the hope that some restrictions will be lifted by then.
Village officials had been considering resurrecting the Worth Days Parade on 111 th Street this year. Mayor Mary Werner said that won’t happen now due to the current conditions.
The parade had been part of the annual Worth Days Fest, last held in August 2018.
“It looks like we will have to plan for the Worth Days Parade in 2021,” she said.