DeKalb County churches help give 140 families turkey boxes

December 20, 2018

DeKALB – Darren Mansfield of DeKalb said he comes to the St. Vincent de Paul Society food pantry at the corner of Fisk Avenue and North Fourth Street in DeKalb once every month.

Mansfield, 51, said that he’s originally from New Jersey and came to DeKalb as a student of Northern Illinois University in the mid-1990s. He said a lot of his family still is in the New Jersey area, but he won’t be able to get back to New Jersey for Christmas this year.

With the holiday turkey box he received during a distribution event at the food pantry, however, Mansfield can at least make himself a meal for Christmas at his home in DeKalb, he said.

“It’s a great blessing,” Mansfield said.

Parishioners from St. Mary Catholic Church in DeKalb, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sycamore and the Newman Catholic Student Center at Northern Illinois University all contributed money and their time to help distribute Christmas food boxes to 140 families in the DeKalb area from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The turkey box recipients flowed through the food pantry in DeKalb, behind St. Mary Church, and picked up their boxes and bags with a turkey, potatoes, dressing and other fixings.

Ursula Sullivan, the Christmas basket program coordinator for the DeKalb-area St. Vincent de Paul Society, said all the families that are receiving the boxes are clients at the pantry.

“They really are our neighbors,” Sullivan said. “They live around us – they’re local.”

Sullivan said the three churches were able to help raise about $4,400 to help buy the 140 food packages from the Northern Illinois Food Bank for families in need, and $4,200 to gift 315 children with $15 gift cards from Target.

Jean Kastory, secretary for the food pantry, said the organization has hosted the turkey box distribution event for years.

“This, at least we feel, gives them at least a good meal for the holiday,” Kastory said.

Kastory said the gift cards give the kids a little something, as well.

“The parents can at least go out and buy something for them,” Kastory said.

Mansfield said he thinks the food pantry, and the Christmas turkey box distribution event, is wonderful for the community.

“It’s helpful for people in need in DeKalb,” he said.

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