Time and time again residents of Forest Park have lauded the village’s community feel, our ability to come together in moments of need. Neighbors help one another just as local businesses look out for the town as a whole.
A fine example of that caring spirit can be seen in the generous efforts spearheaded by the Community Center, which is delivering Thanksgiving meals today to those who are in need this holiday season. Over the last few weeks, the Food Pantry has collected thousands of dollars and hundreds of food items for this event. Karen Dylewski, director of the Community Center, said she can’t really name one single individual or business that stood out as a top donor. The involvement of the entire community was too great, she said.
Dylewski’s observation highlights an important point: Even the donation of one or two cans of food actually can make a big difference. The residents of Forest Park have shown that to be true. Whether it’s dropping off an extra can of sweet potatoes at the bin at Ed’s Way or soliciting monetary donations from the workplace, together everyone’s efforts have truly paid off.
Roughly 150 families will get to eat turkey this year that most likely would not have had the opportunity if it weren’t for the generosity of neighbors. Roughly 150 families will get to enjoy the spirit of the holiday with a little less stress knowing that a good meal will be provided.
In this week’s story on the Thanksgiving baskets, one single mom, who has received the free meal in the past, told the Review that she has been moved to tears by how supportive and caring the residents of Forest Park have been during her moments of need. At the same time, volunteers have said that they, too, have been so inspired and moved by the vast participation.
“The best feeling is that the community and residents come together and make it happen,” Dylewski said. “None of it could ever happen without them.”
And all it took was can of food here, or a dollar donation there.
The Community Center will be running a similar program at Christmas. We have no doubt that the event will be equally successful. Residents have shown that kindness is contagious in Forest Park.
But for those who may have forgotten or never quite got around to it – as we realize people lead very busy lives – it’s not too late to get involved.