By ZoeWood Last week, I spent a day out of the office to take a “little” trip to Mexico to celebrate Jacksonville’s own Little Mexico on their one-year anniversary of their authentic Mexican restaurant. Located at 2001 W. Morton Avenue, Little Mexico opened one year ago February 8, 2016, and has been celebrating ever since.…
This year’s single day event will be held Monday, March 13, at McClelland Dining Hall on the MacMurray College campus. It’s all-you-can-eat from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 in advance and $8 at the door. Children 5 and under eat for free with a guardian or parent. The drive-through service will run…
Gardening can be an incredibly rewarding activity. Whether you want to get in some physical activity, de-stress after work, get back in touch with nature or grow your own food, gardening can do all of those things and more. Gardening may seem intimidating at first, especially if you don’t have a green thumb, but once…
By Diane Reinhold As many of us enjoyed our favorite traditional and seasonal dishes this past holiday season, there is one main dish, which has an ingredient to be used more than just at Christmas or Thanksgiving. That dish commonly enjoyed is candied sweet potatoes. This versatile food has become increasingly popular and is a…
By Jenna Smith It’s that time of year where we try to forget about all the high-calorie goodies we stuffed into our mouths during the holidays and start anew. It’s the season of trying out new diets, some of which yield success on the scale but hunger pains in the stomach. Many try to drastically…
by Anna Ferraro
In downtown Arenzville, there’s a little beacon of hope for those in need – the Triopia Food Pantry – located at the Side-Door Christian Youth Center. Operating without titles or a full-time staff – they’re just run by families and volunteers in the community who desire to give to those who have less than them.
Wesley Hendricker, one of the volunteers that has been with the food pantry since it’s conception, recalled the day the first needy family stopped by St. Peter’s Lutheran Church over two decades ago. Hendricker thoughtfully stated several facts that struck him about that day – “The fact that they felt safe in stopping at our church that was located in the middle of two cornfields… the fact that all they had to do was talk with someone there and say, ‘we have need; can you help us?’ There was no questionnaire, or ‘are you a member of this church?’ the answer was, ‘Yes, we can help.’ That’s the attitude of this community.”
Hendricker’s family was key in collecting and delivering the first parcels. Over two decades later, they’re still at it. Hendricker shared, “Our goal is that no one should be hungry in this community and in this area.” He continued, “We live in one of the greatest farming communities in America. We can produce a lot of food here as farmers and gardeners, and there’s no reason we can’t share that with those who have need.”
After operating out of their church for years, the Triopia Food Pantry relocated to the Side-Door Christian Youth Center in downtown Arenzville in November 2016.
But sharing food and supplies is not just a Hendricker thing. And it’s not just an Arenzville thing. Every church in the area, as well as many individuals in the area have offered their services at one time or another. Hendricker shares, “What excites me is the potential that we have to make a major impact. There shouldn’t be hungry children in this region at all.”
The second Saturday of each month, they take in food donations. The third Saturday of each month, they distribute food between 8-10 a.m. And if you can’t come to pick up the food you need? No worries. Hendricker shares, “We deliver or meet people at the pantry. If we don’t have the items they need, we’ve been blessed with monetary resources so we can go and get them exactly what they need.”
Hendricker concluded that such flexibility and generosity is fueled by “the attitude of those of us in rural America – we know that we’re at this place in life, and we know that we’re blessed and in this position so that we can bless others.” So when it comes to formalities, they’re pretty low-key. When it comes to generosity, they’re anything but low-key. To contact the Triopia Food Pantry, call or text Wesley Hendricker at (217) 473-1603.
Ken Johnson Cranberries are a common sight during the holidays. They often take center stage at holiday meals and may also be used while decorating for the holidays. American cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon, is native to central and eastern Canada, as well as the northeastern and north-central United States (including Illinois). Native Americans used cranberries…
By Robert Crowe (Picture is the cover of The New Yorker Magazine in 1962.) There is a persistent belief that Benjamin Franklin proposed that the national bird be the turkey instead of the eagle. That belief is a myth. Franklin never publicly advocated the turkey as a national symbol. At the time the National Seal…
By Lynn Colburn
Passavant Area Hospital’s annual Christmas bazaar is always one of the first events to kickoff the community’s holiday season. At 3 p.m. Friday, November 11, a ribbon-cutting ceremony with co-chairs Debbie Bailey and Lisa Kluge began this volunteer driven event, which many work tirelessly to fruition each year. Funds raised through the annual bazaar and other Auxiliary fundraising efforts provide scholarships to hospital employees seeking to further their healthcare training, and this year’s funds will go toward the purchase of a stress echo cardioiography system which is used to determine how well a person’s heart and blood vessels are working. It is a new service for Passavant Hospital, which can help patients with another local diagnostic option for better patient care.
As visitors came in the door, Amy Albers was greeting guests along with other members of the Passavant Auxiliary. Albers was selling one of the new items this year, the “Meal and Memories Are Made Here” cookbook, featuring 162 pages of recipes form Auxiliary members with main dishes, breakfast and breads, appetizers, side dishes, desserts, and soups and sauces. Cookbooks are $12 each and still available at the hospital gift shop.
The “Antique Boutique” had a special new area this year near Passavant’s newly renovated cafeteria, which gave them more room to add larger antique furniture to the mix along with lovely selection of artwork, jewelry, china, collectibles and other unique pieces. The Antique Boutique chairs were Linda Curtis, Anne Wildrick, Diana Olinger and Janet Chipman.
“Frozen Feasts and Sweet Treats” are always popular and busy areas with people buying lots of delicious frozen meals and mouthwatering sweets for family and friends. Volunteers generously baked and cooked mouthwatering items for this area including scrumptious crab puffs, pepperoni tartlets, soups, chili, cookies, noodles, Amish friendship bread, cinnamon rolls, cakes, pies, snacks, candies and more. Those who walked through commented on the delicious aroma that greeted them as they entered the door. Sweet Treats chairpersons JoAnn Nelson and Karen Sibert arranged items on tables so guests could find the items that appealed to them. Frozen Feasts’ chairs were Barb Hansmeier and Debbie Richards.
The “Gift Gallery” had special handmade items from local volunteers and crafters including special handmade coaster sets of Jacksonville, MacMurray and Illinois College landmarks created by Mary Jo Barker. Many crafters made wonderful holiday gifts that would look wonderful under the tree or on it. Decked out in holiday hats in this area were Gift Gallery chairs Linda Swisher, Marilyn Kimmons, Sandy Austwick and Mary Jo Barker.
Other annual bazaar favorites took place, including tea and goodies served in the lobby by volunteers like Dee Hill on Friday; a Breakfast with Santa on Saturday morning for children and their parents; a Holiday Luncheon on Saturday afternoon; a raffle drawing for packages such as a cash package, golf outing, game day and more; and a sun-filled room with local vendors selling wonderful jewelry, makeup, creams, pottery and more.
The hospital’s gift shop was also decked out in its finest Christmas attire for the event and had gifts that would work for everyone on a family’s Christmas list – naughty or nice.
Two hundred thirty people enjoyed Faith Lutheran’s Soup, Salad & Dessert Luncheon on Columbus Day (Monday, October 10) from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Volunteers from the church served up three delicious choices of homemade soups: broccoli and cheese, chicken and wild rice and vegetable. The luncheon also included a salad, home-baked rolls and a choice of many delicious desserts. Faith Lutheran Church began its soup luncheon in 2004.