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Local mayors deliver food to raise awareness

Morris, Diamond, Minooka participate

MORRIS – Mayors are elected to serve their community, and three area mayors Tuesday took serving to another level as they collected donated food from Jewel and Aldi and delivered it to We Care of Grundy County.

Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick, Diamond Mayor Terry Kernc and Minooka Village President Pat Brennan participated locally, along with mayors across the country, in Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, which spotlights the impact of national service and to thank those who volunteer.

“Anytime we are asked to help the community or help people in need, we’ll be there,” Brennan said.

Denise Gaska, executive director of We Care, said she likes the mayors’ help because the organization always is in need of volunteers, so the opportunity to highlight that need helps.

“I hope people want to follow the lead of their mayor and come out and help,” Gaska said. We Care offers rent, mortgage and food assistance to Grundy County residents. 

Kernc said it is important as a community leaders to lead by example.

The Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service is led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency for national service and volunteering. CNCS engages citizens for service at more than 70,000 sites in 8,500 cities across the country, according to

Through programs such as AmeriCorps VISTA, Senior Corps, the Social Innovation Fund and others, CNCS leverages federal and private funds to support organizations that achieve measurable results where the need is greatest. 

Locally, AmeriCorps VISTA, a national service program designed to fight poverty, provides volunteers who are working with Northern Illinois Food Bank to help bring about awareness.

Kristen Pruitt, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, was on hand Tuesday volunteering with the mayors.

Pruitt, originally from Georgia, relocated to Channahon after starting her first term with AmeriCorps in November.

She helps Northern Illinois Food Bank by working with partner agencies in Grundy, Will and Kankakee counties.

“I work with partner agencies in three counties as a capacity building consultant,” she said. “I come in and see what I can do to help the agency.”

She said she helps build donor volume, a volunteer base and teaches the agencies how to feed more people. Kopczick said he enjoyed being involved with the event and learning what AmeriCorps does so he can help support them. Supporting the volunteers at AmeriCorps is helping citizens as a whole, he said.

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