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Clubs making holidays special for the less fortunate

Antioch-11/17/12 Sat./Antioch Rescue Building
MariPerez Antioch picks up her turkey dinner provide by Antioch Lions Club Saturday with James Cole Antioch

Antioch-11/17/12, Sat./Antioch Rescue Building Maria Perez, of Antioch picks up her turkey dinner provide by the Antioch Lions Club Saturday, with James Cole, of Antioch helping. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 20, 2012 6:10AM

As everyone prepares for Thanksgiving, some of those less fortunate in the Antioch area will also be preparing to enjoy a great meal thanks to the Antioch Lions Club’s basket run on Saturday.

“We’ve been doing this for 30-40 years at least. I have a picture of me from a newspaper in 1977,” said Richard Kufalk. They used to do all the shopping and another business in the village provided the baskets, “but then it got so big,” he said.

Now they have a big helping hand from the Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Antioch, which set aside food and provided a large sturdy box for the holiday fixings. “It’s everything for a decent-sized party,” said store owner Dave Karczewski. “You’re looking at 11-12 pounds of food, figuring a pound per person like catering, there’s enough for 8-10 people,” he said.

The baskets include a 10- to 12-pound turkey, three pounds of onions, five pounds of potatoes, two cans of green beans, fruit cocktail, cranberry sauce, stuffing, a bag of oranges or apples, celery, a dozen eggs, a loaf of bread, two bags of rolls, margarine and a dessert, such as cookies.

“It’s great to see groups do this for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Karczewski, referring to the Lions Club and the Antioch Rotary. The boxes are sturdy enough to be re-used as storage if someone wants to use it that way.

Kufalk said they will be distributing about 75 baskets to people culled from the local schools, social service agencies, building managers, even the assessor’s office. “It’s everything you will need for a nice Thanksgiving,” said Kufalk, who always takes his grandson, Mosley Kufalk, 19, so he can realize what he has compared to some other people.

“We really want to make sure the children are taken care of and the seniors,” he said. The clubs donate the money they raise throughout the year at various events. Each one, because Piggly Wiggly gives them a good price and alerts them to sale items, costs about $30.

“He’s always fair with us,” he said of Karczewski. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Antioch Lions Club will donate about $6,000 worth of food.

Former Fire Chief Dennis Volling has been delivering the baskets for 22 years and he also brings a grandson, Alex Volling, 18. “There’s a lot of people in need. You give up a little bit of your time and it’s well worth it,” he said.

“We get quite a few of them when times are hard. We have some people who have done well and then they get sick and had to use all their savings,” said Volling.

“When we brought them a basket, it made their whole holiday,” he said.

“It’s always nice to see those smiling faces. Some of these people don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” he said.

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