Karole and Floyd Kettering wanted to create a Christmas about something more than just the family opening of presents on Christmas Day. In 1979, they decided to make Christmas special for other families who might otherwise not have anything to celebrate. Karole contacted DuPage County Health nurses, and they provided the names and addresses of 35 needy local families.
Karole called the people on her Rolodex and rallied enough support to provide an abundance of food and gifts for all the children of these 35 families. The Theosophical Society in Wheaton generously provided the space and support to incubate what was titled the
continues today, providing impoverished families with 3 weeks of groceries including a turkey, frozen meats, non-perishable food, and fresh produce, plus gifts for all of the children under age 16. In 2009, we distributed 23 tons of food and 12 tons of gifts.
In 1982, Karole and Floyd vowed to serve those in our community in need on a year-round basis. During the course of administering the Christmas Offering, they had discovered that the population of DuPage County included a large number of senior citizens who were unable to sustain the nutritional requirements necessary for good health because of their economic condition. So the enterprise was incorporated as a not-for-profit charitable organization, and the
Senior Citizen Project began with 3 needy seniors.
Today the project serves 115 needy seniors with monthly deliveries of over 90 pounds of nutritious food, household supplies, and personal care items brought directly to their homes by a dedicated group of volunteers. Their diet is improved, they are able to remain independent in their own homes, and they live secure in the knowledge that they will always have food to eat.
Floyd and Karole also wanted to serve those in need at the other end of the age spectrum, and so in 1992 they established the
Children’s Birthday Project
. They wanted those children suffering in conditions of economic stress, through no fault of their own, to have the joy of receiving abundance on their own special day. The program started with a goal of serving 500 needy children on their birthdays and at Christmas. As many as 1,200 children have been served in this program each year.
In 2004, Karole and Floyd discovered that children enrolled in the federal school lunch program were not receiving the necessary nutrition to support their growing minds and bodies during the summer months when they were on break. They created the
Feed the Kids
program to provide a substantial grocery package to local families who have been enrolled in the school program. During the months of June, July, and August a monthly 250-lb package of fresh produce, non-perishables, bread, frozen meats, and nutritious snacks appealing to children is provided to enrolled local families, which in summer 2009 included 300 children.
Over the years the project has expanded out of Floyd and Karole’s spare room into borrowed space, rented space, and finally our very own building in 1995. However, the projects continued to grow and exceed the capacity of this first property, which was located in West Chicago. In 2006, we were blessed with the opportunity to purchase a modern 15,500 square foot facility in Carol Stream. It is a beautiful facility. Yet, we are already pushing out the walls with our endeavors. It is Karole and Floyd’s deep desire to create the stability and provide the means so that the Humanitarian Service Project will be here into the indefinite future to meet the needs of those in our community who are trapped in poverty.
None of these accomplishments would have been possible without the generous support of time and money of our many friends, acquaintances, and contributing citizens who care about helping others within the local community.