DECATUR, Ill. – The Northeast Community Fund and volunteers from ADM are making sure people struggling with food insecurity have food for Thanksgiving.

“I feel like everyone should be able to know where their next meals are coming from,” Jaylyn Harris, a customer support supervisor at ADM, said. “I think we all want to make sure that if we can donate our time, or donate resources that we are a part of that.”

Volunteers have been packing boxes with food including pumpkin, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, ham, and even turkey as they prepare to send them out for Thanksgiving.

“The volunteers at this time of the year are priceless because we could not begin to do the enormity of what it takes to do this,” Jerry Pelz, the retired former director of the Northeast Community Fund, said. “Not only do you see people here are doing this, but there are volunteer groups that come in after hours and pack boxes ahead.”

ADM has volunteered at the organization for about seven years with a break in between due to the pandemic. This year, about 50 of their employees filled up boxes.

“ADM truly does care and wants to make sure that we support the community that we are in, and us personally, we all just like being a part of it and helping out where we can,” Harris said.

Pelz said the Northeast Community Fund has packed and distributed Thanksgiving food baskets for years. Last year, Pelz said the social service organization sent out about 3,800 boxes. This year, he said they plan to send out 4,000 boxes of food to help families. 

“It’s quite a production,” Pelz said. “It’s over 10 days and we try to spread that out and try to do about 400 to 500 each day. And it’s been a real blessing for this community, especially in these times as some of the effects of COVID seem to linger on. There’s still a lot of need out there.”

For anyone interested in helping pack food this holiday season, the community fund is looking for volunteers.