DeKALB – Members of the Sycamore Rotary Club hoped to take home bragging rights Friday after competing in a friendly wager to see which of the rotary clubs in DeKalb and Sycamore could raise more donations to support families in need with Thanksgiving dinner.
It was all part of the donation drive and live broadcast dubbed, “Let’s Talk Turkey” set up from The Salvation Army in DeKalb. Friday’s drive aimed to beat last year’s fundraising effort, which WLBK FM 98.9/AM 1360 radio host TD Ryan said netted $3,448 and 366 in turkey donations.
“I think it has a great impact, too, because a lot of people need that little nudge sometimes or they say, ‘I’d like to give, but I don’t know where to give,’” Ryan said. “We’re providing an outlet here for people to give and support their community. The important thing is all this is staying right here in DeKalb County. None of it going out of the county.”
Brandon Diviak, president of the Sycamore Rotary Club, said he and members of his group dropped off 37 turkeys in what he called a “Battle of the Birds”.
“It’s been really fun,” Diviak said. “[It’s] a friendly competition to do the best we can for our community.”
“We’re providing an outlet here for people to give and support their community. The important thing is all this is staying right here in DeKalb County. None of it going out of the county.”— TD Ryan
April Alvarez, core officer for The Salvation Army, said it’s clear that the cost of Thanksgiving meal has not subsided over the past year.
“We’ve seen that the grocery costs have doubled,” Alvarez said. “A lot of the local stores have provided a very basic meal for around $30. Even that basic meal last year would have been more like $15 or $20. So, $30 might not sound like a lot, but when you’re barely meeting your bills as it is, something extra like that is extravagant. It’s something that a lot of our clients just can’t afford.”
Ryan said he believes there is value in the radio station going live from The Salvation Army year after year as it does.
“This is live. Real people talking about real people helping real people, so that’s what really hits home when people hear that on the radio,” Ryan said.
Alvarez said The Salvation Army is grateful for community partners, like WLBK, and the many donors that provide support to families in need.
The DeKalb Salvation Army intends to serve more than 600 families this Thanksgiving compared to about 375 the prior year, Alvarez said.
“We would not be able to help the amount of families that we are able to help without all of the support from the community, from the radio doing this for us and for the people stepping up because we have an unprecedented amount of people signed up this year to receive help both with the Thanksgiving meal and with Christmas assistance,” Alvarez said. “We are more than double what we signed up last year. The need is great and the help from the community is so appreciated.”