Helping hungry kids in Schuyler County, Illinois

When Sandy Heaton started the Chow For Children Summer Food program last summer in Rushville she never thought it would double in size.

But on Friday, her group served almost 300 meals to about 70 families in the Schuyler County area.

The Chow For Children runs for 13 Fridays over the course of the summer. About 40 volunteers head to the Methodist Church in Rushville to help prepare meals for about 70 families in the Schuyler County area. The idea is to make sure kids in Schuyler County have enough food to carry them through the weekend.

Olivia Vincent is a 4-H member in Schuyler County and is in her second year of helping with the program.

"I feel like it's really helping. Like I'm a kid helping kids. It feels really good to help people to help my friends really," Vincent said.

Some families come and pickup their meals and others get them delivered. But for Betty Grider, who's a retired teacher from Rushville and currently undergoing cancer treatments, the ability to come and help and serve her community is what keeps her going.

"I miss working with kids and children. If it wasn't for kids I wouldn't have much of a life I guess. I've got four of my own and grandkids, but that's not the same," Grider said.

Each meal contains a main dish, fresh fruit, a vegetable and even treats like a trail mix or snack crackers. Sandy Heaton said without the volunteers and the community, none of this would be possible.

"A lot of team effort, you've got to work together as a team. We have 45 people that are going to be here this morning, but it's working together," Heaton said.

Heaton also said she has her 4-H volunteers this year like she did last year, but more of the community is also stepping up to help and volunteer and that is what is making it a success.

If you'd like to volunteer or donate to the Chow for Children program you can contact Heaton at 217-322-3239.