Thanks to a generous response from the community and the dedicated work of volunteers, the Park Ridge Kiwanis Club has met its goal of providing food holiday food baskets for 118 families in need.
All of the families live in the Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 community; all but one have a child in a District 64 school.
The Kiwanis raised enough money to spend $14,750 on $125 Mariano’s gift cards. The gift card will have restrictions on what can be purchased; additionally, Mariano’s will provide a coupon for a ham and pie as part of the basket.
“The response was wonderful from the community,” said Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski, one of the program’s organizers. “We met our goal, which will please our volunteers and help make the holidays a little nicer for more than 100 families in our community.”
The Kiwanis raised the money without the aid of a dining event they have held in past years. The donations came largely via the group’s website or through the mail. Volunteers will wrap the gifts on Tuesday and deliver them to families this week.
“No child should go without, especially during the holidays,” said District 64 Superintendent Eric Olson. “We are very grateful to those who contributed to this very worthwhile program.
"Families were selected based on the Fee Waiver Policy / Evaluation used by District 64. Using the federal guidelines for low-income, families are eligible if they have an annual income of $27,729 for a family of three or $39,221 for a family of five.