Manifolds, Manolos & Manure...by Bona Heinsohn

Earlier this year, my blue-eyed girl learned about our local food pantry.  Along with 20 of her closest friends, they learned about how they and their families can help families in need in our community.  They learned about collecting, dividing, and repacking food.  They learned about their community and the families in that community. 

Volunteering is not something new to her.  She travels with me to various activities and gives freely of her time.  Last year, she gave a Saturday to help raise money for her traveling softball team.  This year, she spent a Saturday helping to raise money for scholarships and her Sunday helping with an event to raise money for our conservation projects throughout the county.

However, the food pantry was the first time she’s picked a cause to volunteer with.  As a parent, her excitement in choosing a cause simply made my heart swell.  No longer does she have to be prodded along, instead she’s the one prodding me along and asking me to sign us up to volunteer.

Cook County Farm Bureau® also doesn’t have to be prodded along.  Earlier this year, staff donated their time and cooking talents to the Ronald McDonald House near Advocate Hospital.  Staff members prepared lunch for families staying at the House while their child is receiving treatment at the nearby hospital.

Farm Bureau’s history with Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana is rich.  Since 2001, CCFB has partnered with the charity to provide food and donations in celebration of Food Checkout Day.  This year, we raised $10,600 and over 10,600-pounds of food for the five Chicagoland houses.  Since 2001, Farm Bureau members and partners have donated over $123,000 and 82,000-pounds of food.

Farm Bureau also donated over 200-pounds of fresh pork and lamb to the Ronald McDonald House and to the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry.  Both animals were purchased from Cook County 4H members at the Lake County Fair animal auction.

Speaking of food pantries, Farm Bureau is donating over $600 to area food pantries through the Grocery Giveaway contest.  Pantries receiving donations are chosen by each month’s winner.  To be eligible, pantries must be a partner agency with the Greater Chicagoland Food Depository.  In June, Cook County Farm Bureau Young Leaders bagged 10,430-pounds of apples for families.  They also donated $400 through the Harvest for All program.  The food depository partners with over 700 food pantries throughout the county and works to ensure that families have access to food.

For my blue-eyed girl, like the farm, volunteering and community activities are part of her life.  It’s my hope that they will become part of her future as well.