Volunteers hand out backpacks at ECC, spruce up Willard Elementary
By Denise Moran For The Courier-News August 11, 2012 4:14PM
South Elgin mom Pam Tiffany and her daughters Brooke, 5, (left) and Paige, 9, volunteered to help spruce up Willard Elementary School on Saturday.
Updated: September 13, 2012 6:20AM
ELGIN — An estimated crowd of 2,000 people came to Elgin Community College on Saturday for the third annual Project Backpack.
“We are giving out backpacks and school supplies,” said Dr. Katie Storey, coordinator of Student Life at the college. “In order to receive a backpack, the student must be a resident of the Elgin Community College district. We’ve had donations from individuals, companies and community drives. There are many social service agencies here today. It’s truly a ‘Pay It Forward’ event. We’re fortunate to be able to give back to the community.”
The 2012 Project Backpack participants included: Huntington Learning Center, Community Crisis Center, Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, Elgin State Bank, Lazer Maxx, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, U46 Project Access, New York Life, Two Rivers Head Start Agency, Kane County Health Department, United Way, Administer Justice, and Kane County Regional Office of Education Equal Chance Program.
In addition to helping out at Project Backpack, the United Methodist Churches of Northern Illinois held its “Seeds to Succeed” back-to-school day of community service on Saturday in Chicago, Elgin, Aurora, Rockford and many other areas in order to kick off a successful school year.
As part of “Seeds to Succeed,” 60 volunteers from South Elgin Community United Methodist Church gathered at Willard Elementary School, also in South Elgin, on Saturday to spruce up the school grounds and paint the 60 by 40 square foot cafeteria/multi-purpose room.
“Half of the volunteers here today went to Willard Elementary,” said Jan Comerford, pastor of the South Elgin church. “The school is thrilled that we are putting a fresh face on it. At Community United Methodist Church, we value education.”
“I want to thank the volunteers for giving their time today,” said Willard Elementary Principal Jason Franzke. “We are fortunate and grateful to have their support.”
This year will mark Franzke’s first year as the principal of Willard Elementary. Franzke formerly worked for nine years as an assistant principal for Chicago Public Schools.
The volunteer effort at Willard Elementary was attended by United Methodist Bishop Hee-Soo Jung and Pastor Robert Sathuri of First United Methodist Church in Elgin.
“We said we would partner with our sister church,” Sathuri said. “It’s a great opportunity to do our ministry.”
The paint for the cafeteria/multi-purpose room was donated by Pittsburgh Paints in Elgin. Flower Wagon in South Elgin donated flowers for the school grounds.
South Elgin resident Nancy Ball said three generations of her family attended Willard Elementary.
“My father, Roy Heath, and his sister, Ruth Koehler, went to Willard Elementary when it was held in a house on Walnut Street,” Ball said. “My four siblings and I attended this school, and my son, Aaron, also went here. The school was originally for first through eighth grade students. I always felt good coming to this school. The teachers were really enthusiastic. Mr. George, as the janitor was called, knew every student by name.”