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Grocery donations sought for annual Franklin Mall project

SANDWICH – Teams of volunteers deliver large cardboard boxes of nonperishable groceries to deserving families living in Sandwich School District 430 each year just before Christmas so they’ll have a festive meal, as part of the Franklin Mall Christmas Project. The historic sharing project is administered by the Sandwich Lions Club.

It’s estimated that about four tons of donated nonperishable groceries are needed by Tuesday, Dec. 19, in order to pack the boxes Wednesday, Dec. 20, at the Sandwich Fire Department. Delivery by teams of volunteers will start the morning of Saturday, Dec. 23.  

Goods that are often in short supply include canned meat and soup, boxes of cereal, and medium-sized jars of peanut butter and jelly.

About 250 families are served through the Franklin Mall Christmas Project, originally started by the late Frankie and Peg Mall in the early 1950s. In those days they took food to folks “having a tough time of it” before Christmas.

Frankie would go to Art’s Food Market in Sandwich and push a cart through the store while filling it with items such as fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, canned goods, and a turkey or canned ham. It depended on the size of the family. He’d pay at checkout and deliver it to the family he thought was struggling to get by… then he’d get another cart at Art’s and start all over again.

Johnson’s Floral Shop has been added to the list of those sites with containers for donations of nonperishable groceries and personal care items. 

Other locations are Gjovik Chevrolet, Art’s Food Market, United Church of Sandwich, Federated Church, Salem Lutheran Church, St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Heartland Bank, First National Bank, First Midwest Bank, Midland States Bank, Arrowhead Medical Building, Sandwich Family Practice, Valley West Hospital, Sandwich Manor, Ultimate Fitness, For Kids Only, Sandwich and Somonauk libraries, Dollar General, and Casey’s General Store.

Monetary contributions are also needed. Checks, made out to the Franklin Mall Christmas Project, can be sent or taken to the First National Bank, Attn: Deb Krafft, 100 W. Church St., Sandwich, IL 60548; or to the Sandwich Lions Club, P.O. Box 32, Sandwich, IL 60548.

For information, call Food Project chairwoman Karen Spangler at 815-786-2189.

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