Volunteers give back on Christmas Eve to Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg

Here’s Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the most upbeat and inspiring stories recently published by the Daily Herald:

The spirit of giving is still in the air at Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg, but December 24 was a little different.

With Christmas carols filling the hall with music, around 250 people, mostly families, spent their Christmas Eve filling sacks of food for hungry children around the world.

Ryan Mitchell, supervisor of the volunteer program, said it wasn’t like every other day.

“I think everyone gets a little more cheerful and merry on Christmas Eve,” he said.

Mitchell said volunteers for each of the two Christmas Eve sessions make cash donations, typically $ 50 per person or $ 150 for a family, which cover the cost of the ingredients they packaged, in addition to donating their time.

“There is definitely a different feeling in the air,” he said. “People want to be here, they are happy to be here, they are happy to give back.”

For the full story, click here.

Kevin Bickner, a native of Wauconda, competes in the US Olympic Ski Jumping Trials at the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex on Saturday in Lake Placid, New York. Bickner won the event.
– Associated press photo / Hans Pennink

Beijing Winter Olympics to be second games in a row for Wauconda native Bickner

Wauconda native Kevin Bickner is back at the Winter Olympics.

Bickner, 25, who grew up training with the Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove, secured his spot on Team USA’s ski jumping squad on Christmas Day when he finished first in the US Olympic Trials in Lake Placid, New York. He won the men’s ski jumping events on Saturday accumulating 257 points over two sets, 13 ahead of Decker Dean.

The 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Beijing, will be Bickner’s second consecutive Olympics following his participation in the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics. He finished 20th in the big hill competition at those Games.

While there will be opportunities to qualify for the Olympics beyond Saturday’s practice, Bickner was happy to secure his place for the Beijing Games, which kick off on February 4.

“I’m super excited to be going back to the Olympics,” Bickner said. “It was a little more difficult this time around, and I knew it would be an important event to win to secure this place.”

For the full story, click here.


The participants in the fifth edition

Participants in the fifth annual Muslims Around the World event in Naperville explore the diverse cultures in the countries where Muslims reside.
– Courtesy of Syed Khalil Ullah

Naperville Islamic Center Welcomes “Muslims Around the World” at Al-Falah Academy

More than 350 people attended the fifth annual “Muslims in the World” event, hosted by the Naperville Islamic Center weekend school, Al-Falah Academy, on December 18.

The students of Al-Falah Academy represented several countries, showcasing the unique cultures within the religion, Islam. The three components of each booth reflected student research and artifacts, ethnic outfits as well as food samples that were contributions from families in the community.

Guests were encouraged to attend and immerse themselves in an exploration of the various cultures in the countries where Muslims reside. India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Iraq and the United States were represented on the stands.

Alzena Saleem, director of Al-Falah Academy, said: “Five years ago it started as an event for students, mainly to show students the differences between their peers. We are all Muslims, but it was an opportunity for them to see that we have diversity among us.

Al-Falah Academy serves Naperville and its surrounding suburbs with an emphasis on religious education, character building and community service.

“The global Muslim community is fortunate to be extremely diverse, and the purpose of the event is to showcase and celebrate our diversity,” said Naeem Hussaini, deputy director of the academy.

For the full story, click here.


Barbara Haravon, a member of the St. Vincent De Paul Society who runs the pantry, replenishes empty shelves in a building near St. Mary's Parish in Buffalo Grove after Wheeling Police drop off five large containers of donated food .  “We fed 260 families,

Barbara Haravon, a member of the St. Vincent De Paul Society who runs the pantry, replenishes empty shelves in a building near St. Mary’s Parish in Buffalo Grove after Wheeling Police drop off five large containers of donated food . “We have fed 260 families,” she said.
-Mark Welsh | Staff photographer

Police on wheels stop hunger with help from local grocer’s customers

Several Wheeling police officers took part in their department’s “Arrest Hunger” campaign on Monday to help suburban families facing food insecurity.

For the fourth consecutive year, Carnicerias Jimenez in Wheeling joined the department on the initiative. Several Wheeling volunteers and police officers picked up pallets of food from the Hispanic grocery store on Monday and transported them to the Free Evangelical Our Savior Church in Wheeling and St. Mary’s Parish in Buffalo Grove.

“We fed 260 families,” said Barbara Haravon, a member of the St. Vincent Society who manages the pantry. “People tend to come during the holidays. We were above average this year.”

For the full story, click here.

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