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March for Meals

Community leaders serve lunch, raise awareness of senior hunger

Tom Tesdal smiled Wednesday as he served plates of fried chicken to residents of Saratoga Tower during the annual March for Meals event put on by the Community Nutrition Network and Senior Services of Grundy County.

“The people here are great,” said Tesdal, president of First Midwest Bank. “This is such a good cause and I’m happy to be able to help.”

This was Tesdal’s first year serving at the event. But, he said, he knows the scenery — his maternal grandmother lived in the building.

“She moved in from Melrose Park a few years after [Saratoga Tower] was built,” Tesdal said. “And she just loved it.”

He and a handful of other community members, including Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick, United Way Executive Director Karen Nall, and Grundy County Housing COO Wanda Wren, served and ate lunch with the seniors.

According to Diane Bumgarner, regional coordinator of the CNN and Senior Services Association, the goal is to raise awareness of senior hunger.

“In this economy, a lot of seniors are going hungry,” Bumgarner said.

Bumgarner said other March for Meals events were held this month.

Events took place at the Coal City Lions Club Community Cafe, Minooka Grandma’s Community Cafe and the Mazon American Legion Community Cafe.

Servers at these events included Braceville Mayor Jim Homa and Diamond Mayor Teresa Kernc.

“[Community leaders serving] gets awareness out there about the program,” Bumgarner said.

Nancy Murley, who works for the CNN and lives at Saratoga Tower, volunteers at the lunch each year, and said those who attend it have a good time.

“It’s doing something for a good cause,” Murley said. “That’s what it all comes down to.”

Tesdal, as he enthusiastically served the meals, echoed that sentiment.

“These people helped us out so much when we were younger,” he said. “Now, it’s our turn to help.”

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