When faced with a worldwide pandemic, the Wheaton community still shows up to help. That’s the takeaway from Make a Difference Day 2020, where Wheaton residents unloaded thousands of pounds of food for neighbors in need, raked 31 bags of leaves and raised awareness of ways to help students and families in crisis.
Organized by Wheaton’s Community Relations Commission, this year’s Make a Difference Day included ways to assist the community in partnership with the Student Excellence Foundation, People’s Resource Center and the City’s Forestry Division. Make a Difference Day is celebrated as the national day of doing good and takes place on the fourth Saturday of October each year.
“We are delighted to have hosted both virtual and socially distant in-person events in honor of Make A Difference Day for our community to take part,” said Larniecia "Nominee" Smith of the Community Relations Commission. “Volunteerism gives physical form to our thoughts and desire to do good. It truly allows you to show up to help make a difference. Our commission is thankful to everyone that participated, and we look forward to coming together again."
For the virtual portion, the commission encouraged residents to visit the website of the Student Excellence Foundation to learn about the Essential Needs Fund for Students & Families in Crisis and find out how to help.
In-person events used a sign-up system to limit the number of individuals participating in different time slots. To assist with the People’s Resource Center’s Stuff-a-Truck food drive, 27 volunteers helped receive and unload 6,789 pounds of food. The food donations came from seven Community Unit School District 200 schools and members of the community, and this will help supply food for many neighbors in need. The other in-person event was a fall clean-up to beautify Adams Park. Twenty-two volunteers raked 31 forty-gallon bags of leaves from the park, assisting the City’s Forestry Division to prepare Adams Park for fall.
The Community Relations Commission encourages the Wheaton community to continue to assist neighbors in need throughout the year, and they look forward to joining together again for Make a Difference Day 2021.