DeKalb County chapter of 100+ Women Who Care award $13,200 to VAC

In November, the DeKalb County chapter of 100+ Women Who Care awarded their Greatest Impact Award to the Voluntary Action Center of Northern Illinois (VAC).

Members of 100+ Women Who Care donated $13,200 to VAC’s Meals on Wheels program that prepares and delivers daily nutritious meals to seniors and other home-bound individuals in need in DeKalb County.

100+ Women Who Care meet four times a year and raise money for local grass root charities and organizations in DeKalb County using a simple fund-raising concept. At each meeting, members nominate three 501c-3 charities. After listening to 5-minute presentations explaining the needs and mission of each one, members vote for the charity they would like to receive the Greatest Impact Award. Each member then writes a check for $100 to the charity that receives the most votes.

Since its inception in November 2014, the DeKalb County chapter has raised about $300,000 for local charities.

Illinois’ stay-at-home order and March 2020 emergency declaration led VAC to experience substantial growth in its home-delivered meal program. As VAC had to stop the congregate lunch program, and many more seniors became homebound due to the risk of COVID-19, Meals on Wheels service in DeKalb County increased by 60% providing more than 325 meals per day.

VAC has received support from many sources throughout the year, including federal funding through the CARES Act, many local contributions through the Mental Health Board, the DeKalb County COVID Relief Fund, Kishwaukee United Way, First Midwest Bank and many local contributions and increased volunteerism.

As the state emergency declaration continued, however, VAC watched its resources depleting. Many volunteers returned to the workplace or to school, and the need for staff to pick up the delivery of meals in many areas of the program began. Federal funding is at a stalemate, and VAC looks forward to an uncertain future in terms of an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Certainly 2020 has been among the most challenging years of a lifetime,” 100+ Women Who Care member Mary Beth Van Buer said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to help VAC’s Meals on Wheels program in addressing the needs of vulnerable seniors through DeKalb County.”

“As a Meals on Wheels Volunteer, I see firsthand the impact this service has, especially in these times of isolation,” member Patty Poorten said.

When she was notified that VAC received the monetary award, VAC executive director Ellen Rogers expressed gratitude at 100+ Women Who Care’s support.

“This award helps to ensure we can continue the expanded service we have been called to offer because of federal and state funding guidelines for COVID relief during the pandemic,” Rogers said.

Additional information about 100+ Women Who Care is available on their website. For information on Voluntary Action Center of Northern Illinois, visit www.vacdk.com.

Katrina J.E. Milton

Award-winning reporter and photographer for Shaw Media publications, including The Daily Chronicle and The MidWeek newspapers in DeKalb County, Illinois, since 2012.