In giving, they receive
By Tony Graf firstname.lastname@example.org November 20, 2012 8:14PM
Michelle Weaver (left), 29, of Louisville, Ky., helps other volunteers including her mother, Joann Weaver, 56, of Plainfield, fill Thanksgiving food baskets at the Morningstar Mission in Joliet Tuesday, November 20, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 22, 2012 6:16AM
JOLIET — Bernell Boykin received a Thanksgiving gift from the Peter Claver Center, he expressed gratitude, and he gave back.
On Tuesday, the Lockport man attended the center’s Thanksgiving food distribution, and received a free turkey for the holiday. He turned right around and helped out: He delivered four food boxes for the center.
“I always love being able to help,” Boykin said. “It’s just instilled in me to help people, because I know there’s a lot of unfortunate people.”
Boykin has volunteered at the nonprofit Claver Center for three years, helping Ozzie and Peggy Mitchell fulfill their educational and athletic goals for this community.
“I love Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell. They do so much for the community, and it just inspires me to help them as much as I can.”
The Mitchells’ overall goal is to serve young people, and strengthen young people, so they can give back to the community.
“We like to keep the kids on the straight and narrow, so they can go to school and understand what a quality education is,” said Peggy Mitchell, president of the center.
Thanksgiving — a time of giving and receiving — is an important holiday at the center, and for the Mitchells, who have served here for 43 years.
“Thanksgiving encourages family bonding, and is something that is very special,” said Ozzie Mitchell, executive director.
On Tuesday, needy families received a turkey and a large box of food for the Thanksgiving table.
Also on Tuesday, MorningStar Mission in Joliet had a food distribution for needy families. Between 30 and 50 volunteers helped distribute almost 400 boxes.
“We are really happy that we can provide a meal for all of our guests who are in need this Thanksgiving,” said Jackie Kinney, volunteer coordinator.
Volunteers included groups from Lewis University, Friendship Baptist Church, AT&T and Allied Bank, as well as many individuals.
“I think that any time you have a chance to help out someone, and you can, you should take it,” said Julie Colhoff, assistant soccer coach at Lewis. “As a coach, it’s important for us to make sure that we’re teaching that same lesson to our players.”
“I think it was a great opportunity to help out for Thanksgiving, the time when we should be thankful for everything,” said Brianne Pettas, a freshman soccer player at Lewis.
Angela Murillo of Joliet brought her son Ricardo Murillo, 4, to the distribution. Melody Matthews of Joliet brought along her daughter Tanila O’Large, 4. Both mothers wanted to make their child’s Thanksgiving special.
Tanila was looking sharp in her purple winter jacket and silver shoes. Ricardo’s cap was in the shape of some furry animal, but he had to clarify what kind.
“It’s a squirrel,” he said.
He had the right idea: stocking up for a special holiday.