Donations can be mailed to:
Loaves and Fishes
1871 High Grove Lane
Naperville, IL 60540
To learn more or make an on-line donation, visit Loaves and Fishes
NAPERVILLE — Members of IBEW Local 701’s RENEW (Reach out and Engage Next-gen Electrical Workers) ended 2016 with a gesture that will leave an impact on the DuPage County community.
For two months during the holidays, RENEW members collected food and various household items like diapers, for a friendly competition among the apprentices.
“We challenged the apprentices in our five-year program to see which class could donate the most food,” explained Journeyman Jonathan Johansen who heads the RENEW chapter at Local 701. To keep things fair, donated food was weighed. In the end, first year apprentices earned the bragging rights, donating nearly half of the 550 pounds of food collected. They also collected $80.
“RENEW is all about getting the younger members involved and helping the community. Our first year apprentices they really showed us,” Johansen said with a smile.
The mission of IBEW’s RENEW program is to inspire the next generation of IBEW workers to become active in their local union. The program pushes younger members to focus on issues important to them, provide education about the IBEW and the labor movement, and foster relationships with members and local union leadership.
At their last day of collection in December, RENEW members realized they achieved their goal of a successful food drive, but didn’t know where to donate the items. PowerForward DuPage Executive Director Karyn Charvat helped out by suggesting Loaves & Fishes, which provides food and client resources to DuPage County residents.
Johansen, along with fellow journeyman Thomas Imburgia, second year apprentice Tyler Drew and Charvat, delivered the food, Dec. 28.
Loaves & Fishes Communications and Event Manager Michelle Iskowitz gave them a tour and explained the significance of their donation.
“A woman who comes here said if it wasn’t for this place, her family would be homeless. With no health insurance, three children and a husband awaiting a liver transplant, all their money goes towards rent,” Iskowitz explained. “Your donation is helping her and hundreds others like her. Having a meal provides such normalcy for a family,” she added.
Motivated by her comments, the RENEW members committed to do more. “With our first year doing this, we didn’t know what to expect. Now we have a goal to double what we donated this year,” Johansen said.