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22ndcenturymedia

GA_111419

4 | November 14, 2019 | The glencoe anchor news

glencoeanchordaily.com

Kids help Chicago’s homeless at inaugural Lunches of Hope

2

Christine Adams

Freelance Reporter

Dozens of Chicagoans

facing homelessness

found themselves with

one less meal to worry

about, thanks to the actions

of some Glencoe

students.

Glencoe Youth Services,

a drop-in center with

recreational and educational

opportunities, held

its first Lunches of Hope

event the morning of Saturday,

Nov. 9, in which

about 20 kids and some

parents packed more than

50 lunches that were delivered

later that morning

to housing- and food-insecure

individuals.

“We discuss ways to

help others,” said Halle

Lyle, 11, GYS Youth

Board president.

With the help of GYS

Executive Director William

Barnard and Assistant

Director Pamela

Tousis, the kids decided

that making lunches that

could be directly given

to people in need would

be a beneficial service

project.

The children decorated

the bags to support the

recipients, coloring rainbows

and adding sayings

like “you’re amazing”

to lift their spirits. They

were filled with ham sandwiches,

apples and chips

by a group that was so

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Volunteers assemble sandwiches at Glencoe Youth

Services.

efficient, Barnard found

himself running to The

Grand within the first 15

minutes just to get more

bread.

“Our goal is to pack 50

lunches each month for

the next year, totaling 600

lunches,” Barnard said.

“This is something we

want to open up to the

community to be a part

of. Let’s all gather to do a

great thing for people,” he

added.

The inspiration for the

Lunches of Hope initiative

falls under GYS’s

youth mental health campaign,

#FightYourFears.

“There’s a stigma for

everyone to feel like everything

is supposed to

be easy and achievable,

but that’s not how life really

is,” said Tousis, who

is also studying social

work.

Adolescents have a hard

time talking about their

mental health because issues

like anxiety are not

always apparent on the

surface, and so GYS is

working to break down

that stigma and help students

recognize the importance

of maintaining

their own mental health,

as well as realize that

others may be struggling

too.

With that mindset, the

group chose a project that

could serve another community

in need.

“What better way to

encourage yourself than

helping others with a

genuine spirit,” Barnard

said.

And while the community

certainly rallied

to support the homeless,

attendees seemed just as

eager to support GYS,

too.

“I’m here because Pam

[Tousis] is here,” said Lilly

Eppley, 11, who is also

the idea manager for the

youth board.

Even parents couldn’t

resist the opportunity to

give back to GYS.

“We just moved here

to Glencoe, and our son

loves this place,” Erika

Siu said.

“What they’re doing is

really good. They’re enhancing

community life

and teaching service,” she

added.

This Saturday project

was just one of many, and

Genevieve Erb-Suciu, 10, of Glencoe, writes positive and encouraging messages on

lunch bags on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Lunches of Hope. Photos by Gerri Fernandez/22nd

Century Media

Glencoe parents and Glencoe Youth Services pose for a group picture after packing

lunches for the homeless.

the spirit behind them is

as inviting as ever.

“It’s an open community,

and anybody can

come,” said Alexandra

Massey, 11, vice president

of the youth board.

She highlighted a bake

sale coming up on Nov.

21 as the next big charity

event to look forward to,

with more to come.

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