Letter to the community: CHA needs you to be a holiday helper

Dear friends and neighbors,
It all started with peanut butter and jelly…
On a beautiful Saturday in October, I sat in St. Rose Church listening to stories about Sister Ann Ellen Quirk. I learned that she had a love for black licorice, anything Irish, no one was able to tell her “no” for anything, and if she called you, it was because you were the right person for the job or project. The un-nominated mayor of Wilmington, Sister Ann Ellen had a special way of asking for things that she was positive would be provided.
I think back to the early 1980s when Sister Ann Ellen could see hungry children in Wilmington. I was in high school and had no ideas that some of my classmates might be hungry.  Knowing that just about every child would love to have a sandwich to eat, Sister Ann Ellen challenged her students to bring in jars of peanut butter and jelly. I wish I knew how many jars she collected on her first collection. Sister was always amazed at the continuous generosity of the Wilmington community to help others.
Over the past 30 years, Christian Help has collected and distributed tons of food and thousands of gifts and lots of candy canes to make the Christmas holidays happier for everyone. With the generous donations, we are now able to provide Thanksgiving and Easter baskets every year.
This year's distribution is in memory of Sister Ann Ellen. She was a blessing to our lives and community.  The CHA is collecting non-perishable food, gifts, toiletries, winter clothing and monetary gifts. Donations can be dropped off at Our Caring Closet at 205 N. First St., the local churches, or  Kuzma Care Cottage at 635 S. Main St.
Food packing will be on Dec. 14, at 6 p.m., at St. Rose School. Please contact me at 815-474-7521 with questions.
Giving one hour to pack food will make it possible for these families to have a special Christmas! We have jobs for every age group. Lots of hands help us be done in one hour. Being part of this community projects makes a difference. All are welcome!
As we begin this holiday season, please take a moment to be thankful for what you have every day and remember those who struggle to make ends meet.
Cynthia J. Ragain
Christian Help Association