For one weekend, the village of Plainfield and surrounding communities came together as one to better the lives of others during the Big Serve. The annual community-wide event allowed volunteers to engage in a number of service-related projects April 30 and May 1.
Community Christian Church, the Village of Plainfield, Plainfield United Methodist Church, St. Mary Immaculate Parish and Hope United Methodist Church, among other community organizations, led the effort.
Some of the projects lined up for this event included a DuPage River cleanup, a food pantry collection effort for Ridgewood Unity Community Food Pantry and a spa day for the elderly Lakewood Nursing Home.
Rick Koss, team leader for the Hands of Hope food distribution project and a member at Community Christian Church, said their overall mission is to make the lives of others better.
“Hands of Hope is out in Joliet and they allow us to bring all this food in and give it out to those that are in need,” he said. “Not only are we filling bellies today but we’re filling the spirit too.”
At the site, the group worked with over 25 palettes of food to package and distribute to those in need.
Last year the Big Serve brought in 800 people devoting their time by giving back to the community.
Koss said they were expecting a nice turnout for the project, and was pleased to see how engaged everyone was.
“The rain may kind of keep people at bay today, but we’re hoping we get them all fed today,” he said.
Koss added that the workflow of the volunteers appeared to be adjusting as expected to the initial wave of hesitancy and confusion.
A group of volunteers also served as a connection team during the Hands of Hope food distribution, talking to the people about what their needs are.
Rachel Elliott, of Plainfield, was in attendance for the Hands of Hope food distribution held at Community Christian Church. She said she was excited about having the opportunity to show her support for others who are in need.
“It’s just awesome that we can reach out and serve the community for those in need,” she said. “We’re here to pray with people if they need it, just lend an ear.”
Annette Hulva, of Shorewood, was one of many people giving back to the community during the Big Serve. She said she was enjoying her time spent helping others who are in need.
“I did this event last year,” she said. “We had 30, 40, 50 cars waiting for us when we arrived. It was a pretty clear message of the need in the area for free food distribution. Last year we had people lined up, they waited for hours and we filled their cars hopefully.”
She added that it’s nice being around a group of likeminded people who all want to make a difference.