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Community Thanksgiving Honors Volunteers, Small Businesses

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November 21, 2016

The Elgin Area Chamber invites the community for a heaping helping of thanks and giving at its 37th Annual Community Thanksgiving Luncheon on Tuesday, November 22 at Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Drive, Building E.

The event features a delicious buffet luncheon followed by a brief program recognizing some of the Elgin area non-profit community's unsung volunteer heroes:

Kelly Collins - nominated by Ecker Center for Mental Health

In 2015, Kelly Collins asked if she could help with the Ecker Center’s Giving Tree Campaign – and by help she meant “take it over completely”. As Director of Community Ministries with Bethlehem Lutheran Church, she and her volunteers showed up with everything on the Ecker Center’s clients’ wish lists. Since then she has helped transport tables for the annual brunch, borrowed all kinds of equipment, bought tickets for and helped staff at events, printed and distributed newsletters and posters, helped find decorators for Festival of Trees, and provided a endless encouragement and moral support to staff and volunteers.

Gwen Guy - nominated by Black Women’s Association

As Vice President of the Black Women's Association, Gwen Guy helps coordinate the organization's scholarship program including working with schools to promote the scholarship program on schools websites and insuring a smooth process for students receiving their award. She coordinates the annual Gala where she often donates 3 to 4 baskets for the raffle and silent auction. She also assists with shopping for the senior citizen Thanksgiving dinner as well as Christmas caroling at a local nursing home.

Patty Harkin - nominated by Gail Borden Public Library

When the Gail Borden Library Foundation decided to mount an Annual Book Sale, it became clear that there was a serious need for volunteers to commit to months of behind the scenes work to prepare. Patty Harkin enthusiastically spent over nine months sorting books by genre, boxing them up and labeling them in preparation for the sale. During the sale itself she greeted customers, processed payments, and straightened the tables. After the first Book Sale, the decision was made to move the daily book sale room from a small out-of-the-way nook to a large, very visible area of the library, which would be called Gail’s Sales. When Patty was asked to be a part of the team that would work on this new concept, she quickly said yes. She has straightened and restocked Gail’s Sales on a weekly basis for more than 5 years, putting in over 660 volunteer hours.

Pat Zolotar - nominated by Food for Greater Elgin

For some people volunteering is about giving. For Pat Zolotar it is a way of living. Pat offers the gift of her time selflessly. The compassion she shows to the people Food for Greater Elgin serves is an inspiration for us all. She treats everyone with respect and kindness, no matter what the situation is. She knows how stressful it can be for the people who find themselves in need of the services the organization provides, and her kind words and actions go a long way toward helping them preserve their dignity and lift their spirits.

Dan Hammershoy - nominated by Administer Justice

Dan Hammershoy is a long term faithful volunteer at Administer Justice. Over the years, he has performed a variety of roles, serving primarily as a paralegal assisting the legal team with preparing documents and letters for clients. He also administered the church retainer program for several years and has taken on various research projects for the staff. He even volunteers at Administer Justice fundraising events.  Dan can always be counted on to get the job done in a timely and accurate manner. He is reliable and dedicated, and brings positive energy to the team each and every week.

Brittain’s Express Oil & Lube - nominated by Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation

Randy and Carol Brittain have been active members of Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation for 11 years. They are key supporters of their Above and Beyond program, which allows members to fund areas they feel passionately about on top of their annual membership contributions. Randy currently sits on the board for the Golden Corridor YMCA along with the EFS Foundation. He is also an active member of the Elgin Noon Rotary. Over the years, Brittain’s has donated to a long list of area non-profits including PADS, United Way, Ecker Center, YWCA, Center for Independence and St. Edward’s Catholic High School just to name a few.

As for John, upon completion of the Elgin Area Leadership Academy he joined the Board for Centro de Informacion, where he now serves as Treasurer. Much like Randy, John sees the importance of giving back to the community and understands the impact of community involvement in relation to the culture of their business.

During the luncheon, the Chamber will also promote two upcoming events that are vital to Elgin's economy and quality of life.

The Chamber will urge everyone in attendance to take the “Shop Small” pledge in advance of Small Business Saturday on November 26. Guests can sign a pledge board at the registration desk as well as receive free Shop Small swag bags.

Giving Tuesday is the annual day of giving back to non-profit organizations and charities. Grand Victoria Foundation is once again generously offering many Elgin non-profits matching grants of up to $5,000 to leverage individual contributions made on Tuesday, November 29 thru the #ILGive campaign. In addition, the Foundation will award bonus amounts to agencies that acquire the greatest number of new donors, retain the greatest number of last year’s Giving Tuesday donors and raise the most money overall. Information about all participating Elgin area non-profits is online at www.ilgive.com.

Tickets for the Community Thanksgiving Luncheon are $25.00 each and the event is open to the public.

The event is sponsored by AT&T, Elgin Community College, Northwestern Medicine and Shales McNutt Construction.

Jason Pawlowski, Director - Communications & Events
(847) 741-5660