The 20th Annual WSOY Community Food Drive will be held Friday (Oct. 8) and will continue to collect monetary donations only in response to growing need and COVID-19. This is one of my favorite events of the year and I have been to each one of them over the years before, during and after making “official” appearances as mayor — and expect to stop by the Kroger on Route 36 East again this year. The effort will run from 6:00 AM until 6:00 PM.
This event speaks to what our community is all about — looking out for others — and boy do we need to see that example this time around with so much stress and distress in cities and towns across our nation because of the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the angry conversations. This is such a great cause that has a ripple effect across our community and beyond and I am so proud of Brian Byers, Kevin Breheny and so many others who work themselves to near exhaustion each year in making this happen.
Actually, even though COVID-19 has resulted in the drive going to monetary donations only, it is proving to me another way to make the effort even more effective. Here’s why:
• Purchasing Power – Thanks to a partnership with the Central Illinois Food Bank, Decatur foodbanks will be able to purchase food for .19 per pound. This means $1 can purchase 5lbs of food!
• Avoiding Waste – Continuing to use a “cash” only system allows the pantries to purchase goods they need the most on an as-needed basis and as their space allows, eliminating the need for off-site storage and the risk of expiration and contamination.
• Minimizing Manpower – The WSOY Community Food Drive has always been blessed with hundreds of volunteers. However, due the risks associated with COVID, they feel it is necessary to minimize the amount of manpower on site. By collecting monetary donations only, they can cut their manpower by over half.
Last year, thanks to cash donations and the added purchasing power, an equivalent of over 3.2 million pounds of food were raised during the twelve hours of broadcast. This year, they hope to exceed that amount through the monetary donations! Every cent raised goes to the purchase of food!
• WHERE does the money go? Last year, because of the generosity of the community, the WSOY Community Food Drive was able to assist Catholic Charities Food Pantry, The Salvation Army Food Pantry, Good Samaritan Inn, Northeast Community Fund, Extended Hands/Reasonable Services, Crossing Healthcare Prescription Gardens, Big Blue Backpacks, Mt Zion Food Pantry, AMELCA, Helping Hands Food Pantry, Moundford Food Pantry, Gods Shelter of Love, Blue Mound Food Pantry and more.
This a really great event and I certainly feel good each year in donating to the effort in helping others, not only through monetary donations but in giving those less fortunate some encouragment that we care about them and want to help!
• LAST CLEANUP — The City of Decatur in partnership with Waste Management will host its last 2021 city-wide cleanup on Saturday, October 9th from 8 am to 12 noon in the Decatur Civic Center parking lot, #1 Gary K. Anderson Plaza. Residents will be allowed to dispose of large items for no charge. Items must be placed in roll off bins located within the parking lot. FACE coverings (masks) will be required as per the CDC guidelines.
Residents will have to unload their items as there will not be any assistance when placing items into the roll-offs. Items such as: old furniture, mattresses, and household items can be disposed of during this cleanup. Limited amounts of tires from residents will also be accepted. NO ELECTRONICS, appliances, paint or yard waste will be allowed. Proof of City of Decatur residency is required. The City of Decatur’s City-wide cleanups are part of the City’s initiative designed to reinvigorate and improve neighborhoods.
• CONGRATS and best wishes to Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe, on her recent election to a one-year term as President of The Illinois Municipal League (IML). Moore Wolfe has served on the IML Board of Directors since 2017 and has served as its First Vice President since September 2020.
“The Illinois Municipal League has been at the forefront of educating, advocating for and empowering municipal officials for more than one hundred years,” Moore Wolfe said. “I am honored to have been elected by my peers to lead this organization and continue to address the critical issues that we face in our communities on a daily basis.”
Moore Wolfe has served as Mayor of Decatur since 2015. Prior to that, she served as a member of the city council from 2009 to 2015. She is the Executive Director of Philanthropy, Advocacy and Community Relations at HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur. She previously served as the Director of Community and Government Relations for Decatur Memorial Hospital. Moore Wolfe served for four years as the Regional Manager of the state’s Opportunity Returns program, working on economic development, infrastructure and outreach activities. She has served as President of the Decatur Chamber of Commerce and was a television news anchor for WAND-TV, in Decatur. Moore Wolfe holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and attended Millikin University as a business major.
She and her husband, Doug, have been married for more than 30 years and have three children. Her election as president is also great for the image of our city and the clout we need in Springfield. She’ll do a great job.
• DOG N SUDS — Last week’s “Scrapbook” article on Dog N Suds by Tom Emery drew some attention and stirred memories. Bonnie (Thompson) Donnan, of Taylorville, sent me an email: “I enjoyed your recent Scrapbook article on the Dog N Suds root beer stands in Decatur. In 1957 when I was 14 years old I obtained a work permit and was a car hop at the Dog N Suds on William St Road owned by the Ray family. “Just wanted to let you know there was one in the 50’s. Many memories from that job!”
Thanks, Bonnie. I also remember a Dog N Suds located in several communities near Decatur, like Atwood. I wish we had them back in Decatur. I remember, when I was in high school that a kid kept calling the place Suds N Duds!
• CONGRATS to my longtime sports editor J. Thomas McNamara for his induction into the District 61 Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday. (Articles on pages 10 and 12 of print edition.) Tom was unable to be at the induction ceremony due to health issues with his kidneys that he has been battling since April and has been in and out of the hospital since that time. He has still managed to send his sports columns to me each week and I know that hasn’t been easy some of the weeks. Tom has always been a great promoter of area high schools’ athletic programs and the students who participate in them and no one knows area sports history any better than he knows it.
Our prayers continue for Tom and his family as this has been a difficult time. Congratulations also to the other Hall of Fame inductees listed on page 12 of this week’s print edition of the Trib.. Decatur has a great sports history with tremendous personal achievements by individuals and teams.
• SO SORRY to learn of the death of Brian Byers’ father, Terry R. Byers, 75, of Mt. Zion, IL who passed away on Sunday in Decatur Memorial Hospital, Decatur. The family will receive friends for visitation to celebrate Terry’s life on Saturday, October 9, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 Noon at Dawson & Wikoff Funeral Home, Mt. Zion, IL. Memorials may be made in Terry’s memory c/o WSOY Community Food Drive. Messages of condolence may be sent to the family at dawson-wikoff.com. (We’ll print the full obituary in next week’s Tribune.)
I met Terry Byers when I was invited to speak to a group of Caterpillar employees years ago and immediately liked him. He certainly will be missed by many. My condolences to Terry’s wife, Janet, Brian and the family and friends. You’re in my prayers.