Chicago club packs Thanksgiving meals

Jan Garrison

Coming back after COVID


December  1, 2021

Susie (Jendro) Colesworthy ’03 was active in Culver Club of Chicago charitable work before she even attended Culver Academies.

Jendro remembers participating in the annual soup kitchen volunteer day with Louisa Elder '83 at the Cornerstone Community Outreach before she enrolled at the boarding school. And since becoming the philanthropy chair of the Chicago club, Colesworthy has continued to direct the club’s charitable work in the city.

The latest activity was packing Thanksgiving boxes for Top Box Foods, a community-based non-profit that supplies fresh food to low-income residents for free or at a nominal charge. Colesworthy said a dozen volunteers came to the food service agency and “put our heads down” and packed so many boxes the agency’s shelves were empty.

Culver Club of Chicago volunteers packing Thanksgiving boxes at Top Box

Those helping were Colesworthy and her husband, Mike; sister Caryn ’06 and husband, Phil Fensel; club president Jay Koziarz ’03 and his wife, Danelle; his parents, James and Debra Koziarz; Erica Lyons and her daughter Josephine SS’23; and Theresa Faulkner.

“What we accomplished in two to three hours would have taken the staff three days to complete,” she said. The boxes included all the sides to complete a Thanksgiving meal. Top Box then distributed the boxes along with a turkey to different non-profits, schools, and individuals throughout the city, she said. The meals were large enough to feed a family of four to five people.

Colesworthy said she and her husband also volunteer as drivers for the organization, delivering food to approximately 10 families on a regular basis. Drivers are the organization’s top volunteer need, she sad. Interested people can register here if they are interested.

The Chicago club started working with Top Box in 2017 until being forced to pause because of COVID-19. She is also looking forward to getting the Cornerstone activities back on track. In the past, the club has conducted different projects to assist the families utilizing Cornerstone’s services. At the top of the list is bringing back the longstanding soup kitchen volunteer day early in 2022.

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