The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The month of December is always full of excitement for Crew 91.  There are so many wonderful service projects in which we participate.  We kicked off the Christmas season by lending a hand to our sponsoring organization, The United Methodist Men’s Club.

Venture Crew 91

Every year the Men’s Club in conjunction with the church hosts Christmas on 6th Street.  The day is full of crafts and vendors selling wares.  And not to be forgotten are all the delicious baked goods by the women of the church.  The event is held to help support the ministries of the church.  Members of Crew 91 volunteered in the kitchen, taking on our usual role of server, table buser and drink refiller.  The members of the Men’s Club have the kitchen down to a science and we fall into step with ladles and aprons in hand.

Venture Crew 91

The wonderful world of serving at the Chillicothe United Methodist Church are the friendly faces you come to know.  Almost every lunch or dinner served brings old familiar faces.  Serving food is a wonderful opportunity to catch up and get the latest news of the comings and goings of our little town.  This year we were joined by members of Troop 91.  It is easy to forget how young Boys Scouts are when you spend all of your time with Venture Scouts!

Venture Crew 91

Another wonderful organization to which we contribute is the Chillicothe Community Needs Agency (CNA).  Throughout the year CNA is meeting the needs of Chillicothe area residents.  From the past due electric bill, to helping the elderly replace broken and worn out appliances, to providing gift cards for groceries, and refilling pantries at Christmas time the CNA is a happening organization.

Our annual contribution usually takes the form of Christmas presents.  We LOVE shopping for the kiddos of Chillicothe at Christmas time.  This year CNA had a different need, a financial request.  When we approached the Community Needs Agency board concerning how we could best assist their organization they asked if we would contribute financially in place of Christmas presents.  As a collective we determined to use the funds set aside for Christmas presents and make a donation to be used as the CNA saw fit.  It is such a privilege to assist the Community Needs Agency in the services to individuals and families of Chillicothe.

This coming Saturday we will be participating in our all time favorite service activity of the year.  Bright eyed and bushy tailed we’ll join community volunteers at Illinois Valley Central High School to sort, assemble and deliver Christmas food baskets.  Throughout the month of December our local Kroger Grocery, area businesses, and the schools in IVC School District #321 have been collecting food donations for the Christmas baskets.

Venture Crew 91

Saturday morning we’ll be unloading carts full of donated non-perishable food items and preparing them for delivery.  It is just fabulous to see whole families, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, young children and Optimist Club members all come together to help serve those less fortunate.  A grand time is had by everyone as towers of green beans are assembled, potatoes are sorted into bags for individual families, and the Chillicothe Volunteer Fire Department picks up and delivers Christmas baskets.

Inevitably the day will be overcast, with a light drizzle turning into freezing rain while fingers and noses begin to freeze as the morning gathers speed. But no amount of gray skies and slippery sidewalks will dampen the spirits of the volunteers gathered at IVC to spread a little Christmas cheer to those who need it most at Christmas time.

What an incredible privilege it is to live in such a philanthropic small community as Chillicothe, Illinois.

 

One Can, Two Can, Three Can, Potato

The cold, icky, icy weather always seems to make an appearance the weekend before Christmas. Unfortunately for Crew 91 and other community volunteers the weekend before Christmas means facing all the beautiful elements thrown our way.  But no amount of sleet, snow and ice could keep us away on our favorite weekend of the year.  The annual Chillicothe Community Christmas Baskets are put together and delivered on the Saturday before Christmas.

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This year a total of 107 families were provided with food baskets for Christmas.  The community donates canned food and other non-perishable food items, brings them to the high school and assembles Christmas baskets for those who need them most.  From Kroger Grocery every family receives butter, crackers, potatoes, oranges and apples, carrots and a bag of candy for each child.

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We helped assemble cardboard boxes donated by Tanner’s Orchard, bagged potatoes into smaller bags, organized all the baskets into an easy delivery system and carried Christmas gifts to cars.  Believe it or not, boxes of canned food can be a little heavy.  Thanks to Kroger Grocery we were able to use grocery carts to push all the Christmas baskets to the recipients’ cars instead of treading across ice and falling snow.

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At the end of the day there is nothing truly more wonderful than giving to others at the most important time of the year.  It may have been a little chilly and the ground may have been slushy but the smiles and ‘thank yous’ and the wishes of ‘Merry Christmas’ make the bitter air and frozen fingers seem insignificant.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Venture Crew 91