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M.O.R.E. HomeAbout Us > Letters from Executive Director

LETTERS FROM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Piecing Together the M.O.R.E. Puzzle: A Beautiful Site To See

January 2017

Recently, my oldest grandchildren have worked and completed a jigsaw puzzle of the Eifel Tower. They are so proud of their accomplishment that they have left it on display for all to see. That got me to thinking about puzzles. All the pieces are about the same size. They don't look like much in a box with 999 other pieces all in a heap. However, with time and perseverance, they eventually begin to form into a beautiful picture.

If the M.O.R.E. operations were to be turned into a puzzle, what would the picture look like? I think the pieces would number into the thousands. That picture would include the building, the board members and the directors, but that is only one small corner. There would be the volunteers who pick up food, stock shelves, fold clothes, pack bags and boxes, assess needs, pay bills, clean floors, receive donations, interpret, order food, write thank-you notes, make schedules, and countless other jobs. Even that accounts for only a portion of the picture. I think of the businesses that supply us weekly with bread, pastry, produce and meat. I remember the churches that regularly send contributions of money, food, coats and scarves. Organizations and businesses do the same and are excited about helping us. I can recall many, many individuals that donate food, garden vegetables and clothing on a regular basis. And then there are the community food drives with the scouts, the schools and the Postal carriers. As I think about this puzzle picture, I really begin to see a beautiful picture unfolding. Almost all of those pieces is a face of someone who cares very much. Can you picture it? Hundreds and even thousands of smiling faces. These faces are smiling, because they want to give of their time and support to help others.

This puzzle picture of the M.O.R.E. operations doesn't look like much in a box. Each piece may not seem to be much of a contribution to the picture, but when it is complete with every same sized piece in the proper place, it is a beautiful sight to see. From the leadership at M.O.R.E., we want to thank you if you are a piece of our puzzle. I hope you agree that it is a beautiful picture. To become a piece of our puzzle, check out our website at www.marengomorecenter.org, or call us at 815-568-7950. Donations may be sent or brought to 829 Greenlee Street.

Thank you,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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There's M.O.R.E. To Our Stats

February 2016

Every so often, we pause to take a look at what we have been doing. Last year we saw over 263,000 pounds of food pass through our doors. By any measurement, that is a tremendous number. Most of that food came in the way of donations from our extremely supportive community and from our Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva. The food bank gets its food from corporate donors (money and food) and federal commodities. Through our sources, 231 tons of food helped an average of 300 families monthly last year. These are families residing within the Marengo/Union school districts. Some may be people you know, or your children may know. While we are on statistics, last year M.O.R.E. was able to assist families in emergency financial stress with $18,672 of our own funds, plus additional help from townships, Salvation Army and church organizations for a grand total of $59,203. Over the past 14 years, M.O.R.E. has helped our community with financial assistance with more than $204,000 of its own funds. In 2015, our children were recipients of generously filled backpacks, new coats, socks and underwear. And, we were distributors of the community Angel Tree children's clothing and the Marine Corp. Toys For Tots. We also have numerous other services.

Our $73,000 budget stretched very well last year and we are happy, but the numbers are only the cold facts. It's the interaction with the people we are serving that really makes us smile. We know we are making a difference. We look at our accomplishments with a satisfaction, knowing that M.O.R.E. is backed by an army of dedicated volunteers and a community that really cares. Those are the statistics that mean the most to us.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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Looking Ahead to the Changes

September 2015

Here at the M.O.R.E. Center, we are always looking ahead to the changes in holidays and the weather. Cold temperatures are just around the corner and that brings the need to supply warm coats. We will be distributing new coats to children on Tuesday, September 29. This may seem early to you, but our experience tells us early is better than late. We will be accepting donations of new coats for this give away during our open hours. After the new coat giveaway, we will be accepting good, clean used coats of all sizes. And, believe it or not, we are looking ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas, trying to predict how many holiday food boxes we will need to order here in September.

In our attempt to reach as many food needy families as possible, we are opening our doors on the first and third Saturday mornings from 10:00-noon. This is in addition to our Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon times. Please encourage anyone you encounter that is in need to stop in for that extra little bit of help.

Looking back, our backpack program was a complete success thanks in large part to the generous donations money and supplies from the community. The response was so good that we have supplies to give out half way through the school year. We also want to thank all our volunteers for stepping forward and lending a hand. About 100 children were able to begin school with the supplies they needed.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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A Reminder of Who We Are

February 2015

The latest statistics for McHenry County show that in 2012 the poverty rate was 7.5% and in Marengo it was 11.3%. That means that over 23,000 in our county and 848 in just the city of Marengo are either at or below the poverty rate. In terms of money, a family of four bringing in an income of $1,987.50 or less each month falls in the poverty category. With the high costs of rent and food, it is no wonder that many find it difficult to stay afloat without help from somewhere. This is why we are here. Making the decision to go to a community food pantry usually is a humbling and embarrassing time for anyone. Accepting help is not easy, but the extra boost of food can go a long way to stretch the budget to pay other bills. Here at M.O.R.E., we are a community agency able to offer used home goods and clothing. We also work hard to keep people in their homes when eviction is imminent, or utilities are about to be shut off. We do this in harmony with townships, churches and the Salvation Army pitching in. When we aren't the appropriate place for specific needs, we provide information about other agencies more suited to help out.

I am reminding you about what we do for two reasons. If you, or someone you know, need assistance, we are here to help. Secondly, if you can help us in any way possible with food, clothing, household items, cash, volunteering, or just simply letting others know about us, our little community agency will continue to be the first responder to hunger and poverty in Marengo and Union for years to come.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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Enduring the Cold to Help Those in Need

February 2014

At the time of this writing, the weather forecast is calling for more snow and then plunging temperatures to a high during the day of -6 degrees. This has been a difficult winter for us, especially taking into account most of our volunteers are retired and beginning to get up there in ages. While we all like to think we are facing extreme weather, my sister in Regina, Saskatchewan Province, Canada always has a better story. They have had wind chills of -54 degrees. I usually respond with, �Yes, but that is in Celsius.� That is a bad argument, since the Fahrenheit conversion is -65 degrees. Of course, my sister-in-law in Dallas thinks anything below 50 degrees is extreme. Everything is relative to our own perspective. Since the lack of food and the potential for hunger is amongst those we serve, staying open is imperative. So far, we have managed to staff our center even on the coldest days. With that said, we are careful to keep our volunteers safe. We have kept our men home on two of the coldest days when they would ordinarily pick up food from Jewel in Huntley, and we have rescheduled shelf stocking to different days. We also encourage our volunteers to stay home when they are uncertain about coming out. In any case, our volunteer force has endured more than our usual and they are truly appreciated.

Our next big food drive is the Boy Scout �Scouting For Food� drive in early March. Once again, they will be delivering bags to residences to be filled and set out for pick up the following Saturday. If you are able to give, we will certainly be grateful. Stay warm and �thanks� for any help you can give us.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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September 2013

Sign-ups for families to receive holiday food boxes, Toys for Tots and Angel Tree clothing gifts will take place Saturday morning, October 26, from 9-noon at the M.O.R.E. Center. If you know someone that can benefit from this, please pass this information on.

The Marengo Women�s Club is again taking on the Week-end Nutrition Program. The purpose of the program is to provide nutritional snacks for young, school-aged children over the week-end in households where food is scarce. Snacks are placed in children�s lockers on Thursdays in time for the week-end. This program is run entirely by the Women�s Club out of the M.O.R.E. Center.

M.O.R.E. benefited greatly from the local gardens and produce farms over the past couple of months. We were able to give out fruit and produce ranging from apples to zucchini. On Labor Day, about 40 volunteers picked corn for all of the McHenry County food pantries from the Community Garden thanks to John Bartman and Nancy Vazzano. M.O.R.E. received about 900 ears of corn that day. Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Lake in the Hills contributed about 1800 ears of corn to M.O.R.E. throughout August. This was made available through a Boy Scout Eagle project that grew corn for many food pantries.

Again, we wish to thank everyone.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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Continuing to Spread the Word

July 2013

It�s always heartwarming to see so many community-minded individuals and families come together to show support for local organizations. The 2013 Fay�s Barbeque Dinner and Raffle is history now and, although we are tired, we don�t want to forget to say �thank you� to all those that attended.

If you were not able to attend, but would like to show support, you may choose to send a donation to M.O.R.E., 829 Greenlee Street, Marengo (see Donate page). If you are a gardener and would like to share some of your extra vegetables, please drop them off at the M.O.R.E. Center during our regular open hours, Wednesday 9-12, or Thursday 4-6 (see Contact Us page). We will put them to good use.

M.O.R.E. is entering into an additional means of communicating our news to the public. The social network, Facebook, is the latest attempt to spread the word about us and also to provide information on a daily or weekly basis concerning needs, events, holidays and closings. �Like� us on The M.O.R.E. Center and you will be able to use this new tool. We still have our website at www.marengomorecenter.org, this monthly column, telephone, mail, e-mail and word of mouth which may include a �tweet� or a �twit�. Feel free to use any or all of these methods.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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Tallies for Past Year: 2012

February 2013

The final tallies from 2012 have been determined for the M.O.R.E. operation and by most measures the year should be considered a success. During the past year we distributed over 171,000 pounds of food and personal hygiene items to more than 235 families in the Marengo/Union area. M.O.R.E. made purchases from the Northern Illinois Food Bank and grocery stores for more than $17000. The remainder of the food supply came from food drives, gardens, individuals and churches.

We also aided 115 families with emergency assistance of over $21,000. This assistance helped to keep families in their homes or utilities turned on. We sometimes overlook the other 196 families that we interviewed and turned down for various reasons. Many times, we were able to give these families valuable advice toward finding the proper agency that may help them

M.O.R.E. also distributed a mountain of clothing and household items that came in to the Center. Children received socks and underwear at Christmas time to supplement the Angel Tree gifts.

As we continue in this year, we have set some goals. We will increase our food quantities to include milk on each visit. We began increasing amounts of meat, bread, produce and pastry last year and will continue with this effort. We also want to provide more information to families seeking employment, or wishing to apply to other agencies for assistance. We will do this by providing computer assistance, along with a volunteer to assist.

While we celebrate our accomplishments, we know very well our success reflects and depends on the overwhelming support of our community. As always, we are thankful to each one of you. You are welcome to visit us at any time.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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The Value of Mobile Market Trucks

March 2012

Perhaps you have seen ads about food trucks coming to various locations in McHenry County. These are called Mobile Market Trucks and they are provided by the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva, Illinois. These trucks carry about 8,000 pounds of assorted food and household products and generally are purchased for $650 by the sponsoring agencies. They usually have an abundance of meat, produce and bread. If you regularly shop local grocery stores, I am sure you can see the dollar value of these trucks.

M.O.R.E. offers three of these trucks each year for our Marengo/Union families. We consider this an opportunity for the hungry to stock their freezers and food shelves with a little more than what they ordinarily get from the Food Pantry. Our Mobile Markets are restricted to those residing in the high school district. While residency is the only requirement to participate, families are requested to complete a food pantry application.

Our first two M.O.R.E. Mobile Markets are from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays, April 5 and June 28. The Mobile Markets take place in the Bus Garage behind Marengo Middle School. During those weeks, the M.O.R.E. Food Pantry closes. However, clients may still come to the Food Pantry twice during those months.

Keep in mind that by using the M.O.R.E. Food Pantry and Mobile Market Trucks, food bills are reduced and the strain of paying other bills is lessened. If you know someone in need, please encourage them to visit us. We will treat them with dignity and respect.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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The Backbone of Our Success

February 2012

The backbone for our success rests on our volunteers and their leadership. The M.O.R.E. organization has been in existence since June 6, 2000 and we have seen a number of community members serve on our Board. Past members include: Lizeth DelaCruz, Carol Currier-Frighetto, Jay Filler, Jeff Hammer, Dan Hinckley, Myra Pleva, Kathy Trickett and Tess Woyach. Our present Board includes Pat Adams, Chris Angelo, Norenne Dunker, Ron Ham, Tim Emerson, Mary Ann Kawall, Deb Keane, Sue Regas, Tim Stone and founding members of 12 years, Bob Botts, Chris Botts, Sandy Butenschoen, Tom Dujmovich, Jan Perkins and Charlie Petrauskis.

At our January annual meeting, we recognized our three program directors for their dedicated years to serving our community. Mary Ann Kawall, our Emergency Financial Assistance Director, has been with M.O.R.E. for ten years. She is recognized for bringing a quality program that helps keep families in their homes and utilities turned on. She works with Salvation Army, townships and other organizations to put together and coordinate packages for aiding families.

Deb Keane, our clothing and small household items (Little Portion) Director, has also served ten years with M.O.R.E. Deb monitors the inventory and her staff of volunteers to assure that our clients are clothed properly and have the basics for a household. This program became possible with the opening of the M.O.R.E. Center.

Jan Perkins, our Food Pantry Director, has served as Marengo Food Pantry (Loaves and Fishes), as well as M.O.R.E for the past 20 years. Jan began as co-director with Cass Gilbert and the Inter-Church Council in 1992. The pantry has been in various locations, including City Hall, Marengo Water Treatment Plant, Covenant Baptist Church, the old J & L gas station on W. Grant Hwy. and our present location. All three directors have a remarkable passion and continued enthusiasm for serving.

Our community is blessed to have these dedicated community members. When you see them, be sure to extend a hand in thanks.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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Much to Be Thankful For

October 2011

Every once in a while we have reason to be happy and thankful. After residing in the M.O.R.E. Center building for four years, we have officially paid off our mortgage of $65,000. What an amazing happening! Keep in mind that we do not receive any government money and that we rely totally on community support. This was made possible through our fundraisers and generous donations. Now, our attention can strictly focus on serving our community. No longer will we worry over the building debt. Thank you to all of you that have made this building a true success.

It is already October and at the M.O.R.E. Center we are preparing for holiday food for Thanksgiving and Christmas. As in the past, we are able to purchase holiday food boxes from the Northern Illinois Food Bank. The boxes contain a 12-14 pound turkey, stuffing mix, instant potatoes, two canned vegetables, canned peaches, gravy mix, dessert mix and coffee. We are able to purchase these boxes for $15. Anyone having purchased food lately will recognize the value in these boxes. We will also supplement the boxes with additional food and dairy. This is an exciting and busy time of year for us. We have already placed our order knowing that the community in past years has made this possible. If you care to donate to holiday food boxes, you may make a check to MORE and mark it “Holiday Boxes”. You may send it to us at the M.O.R.E. address or drop it off in your church. You will help to make someone’s holiday special.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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A Growing Food Pantry: A Supportive Community

June 2011

The food pantry has had a number of locations throughout its history. In the early nineties, it was located in city hall. The food pantry has also been housed at the water treatment plant and the Covenant Baptist Church garage. The numbers of needy kept growing and space was becoming very tight. It was at this point that the governing Board, the Inter-Church Council, decided that something had to be done to obtain a better location and even to extend services beyond just food. The Inter-Church Council turned over the operations to a new organization called Marengo area OutReach Enterprises, Inc. It was organized in June of 2000 and this Board of community members set about looking for just the right place. They were determined to raise money for whatever the answer would be. While the search was on, the food pantry moved to the old J & L gas station on West Grant Highway which was owned by the city. It was extremely small and food had to be stored off-site. The Board determined that there was no existing property that would be suitable for our purposes, so the land on Greenlee was purchased and the building campaign began. (See History page)

Because of the commitment of this group of people and the generous support of the community, the M.O.R.E. Center opened in August of 2007 and services have expanded to financial assistance, clothing and household items. This property is valued at more than $400,000, but with donated materials, labor and cash, we moved in owing only $65,000 and this has been reduced to $12,000 in less than four years. By the end of this summer, we hope to completely free ourselves of building debt. That�s an amazing accomplishment.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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2010: A Year of Getting Into a Routine

February 2011

From my point of view, 2010 was a year of getting into a routine. The previous years were heavily invested in capital projects, demanding much time and disruption. We did purchase a laptop for the Emergency Financial Assistance Program.

Looking back, we saw a year where our numbers of clients served each week was similar to the previous year, although the turnover rate was higher. There was an increase in homeless clients and the unemployed.

Our volunteer base remains strong, with good leadership where needed. Our three Program Directors remain remarkable in their dedication of the clients they serve. Our donations are remaining strong, even in this poor economy. Three grants were received. Through careful money management, we ended the year quite positively.

The directors met somewhat regularly to discuss concerns, procedures and other items. Security and safety are topics that are beginning to be addressed and will be taken into the new year.

The M.O.R.E. Center continues to be used by the Marengo Senior Citizens group twice a month and by two card playing groups for a total of at least ten times a month. So far, we have been able to work out schedules together.

The M.O.R.E. Center continues to draw notice from other organizations in the area. Other food pantries showing interest in our facility, website or our food pantry operation include Harvard, Wonder Lake, Algonquin/Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake, Grafton and Elgin.

Our website continues to be quite an asset. It has been operating for two years and has had over 2,500 hits. The PayPal choice is beginning to catch on with more than $1,500 being donated this year by this method. The site is easy to navigate and whether a person is a possible donor, volunteer or client, information is there to address most questions.

The year 2011 will probably bring another conservative year. We will be looking at building safety and security which may mean some new expenses. We will continue to look at the topic of succession, especially pertaining to our program directors. We will also continue to take a look at our programs and how we may improve them, sometimes even making changes. There is also a possibility that our building debt may be eliminated.

I thank the Board of Directors for their vigilant guidance and their support.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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Back to School: Helping Kids "Fit In"

August 2010

While you are reading this, Marengo area boys and girls are going back to school with all of the emotions that follow them. Being able to �fit in� is about the most important element of overcoming the jitters of the first few days. At the M.O.R.E. Center, in conjunction with the Salvation Army, back packs and basic school supplies are being given to those children of less fortune. It�s a fulfilling experience to see these children receiving the fresh new back pack and all of the accessories.

I think that all of us can remember those days when the crayons were sharp and smelled so good. Remember the new pencils and notebooks? And the new erasers and ink pens with the cartridges? Well, times have changed a little, but the kids are about the same as when we were young. At the same time back packs are being distributed, M.O.R.E. is providing a $25 voucher for each child to shop at Levin�s for either gym clothes or gym shoes. This program is in its third year and has been quite successful. So, the moms and dads that we help are seeing their children start the school off with some of the same attire that others around them are displaying.

�Fitting in� is so important. Thank you Salvation Army and thank you community for supporting these programs that help so many of our young ones.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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Our Board: Leading By Example

February 2010

The catalyst for our success is the 15 member Board of Directors. Our directors are drawn into service from our community and they work very hard to build support for our causes and then they get into the trenches and lead by example. This governing Board�s goals are many, including vision and goal setting, promoting, fundraising, staffing, record keeping and evaluating. Although we distribute government commodities, we are a totally private, not-for-profit, enterprise. Therefore, our continued existence is dependent on the leadership of our Board.

Our Board members are: Pat Adams, Chris Angelo, Christine Botts, Bob Botts, Sandy Butenschoen, Tom Dujmovich, Norenne Dunker, Tim Emerson, Mary Ann Kawall, Deb Keane, Janice Perkins, Charlie Petrausksis, Sue Regas, and Tim Stone. Each person comes to the Board to lead with a background and set of skills that represents the community for which they serve. By occupation, we have present and retired teachers, nurses, cost analyst, a firefighter/paramedic, realtor, banker, veterinarian, retired social worker, assistant director of religious education, school and church volunteers, and a corporate executive. Many are members of our churches and civic organizations, and have families in our community. They know you and they know your concerns, values and compassions.

If you were observant, you counted only 14 members. We are searching for a new member that will be able to bring fresh ideas and energy, but also have the ability to embrace the efforts of those past and present. Please contact us to be considered.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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Back to School Time

August 2009

As I write this, it is almost time for school to begin. This Center has been abuzz with children delighting in receiving backpacks and new gym shoes or gym clothes. Mary Ann Kawall, our Emergency Financial Assistance Director and Salvation Army Extension Service Coordinator, headed up the distribution of the Salvation Army sponsored backpacks and the M.O.R.E. sponsored gym shoes or gym clothes. The backpacks were filled with school supplies and the children were also given tooth brushes and tooth paste. Vouchers for $25 were given to their parents for the gym shoes or gym clothes to be purchased at Levin’s Shoes & Dry Goods in downtown Marengo. Thanks Bob Levin for participating in this program.

When watching this event unfold, we come to realize how little it takes to see eyes sparkle and moms and dads feel relief that their children will be “fitting in” with the other kids on that nervous first day of school. It’s these kinds of experiences that make all the other hum drum days seem distant. For just a few minutes, we see some fruits of our labor before we go back to our more routine tasks of helping with the real necessities of life: food, shelter, and clothing.

It takes many volunteers to keep our programs running. Want to help? See our website. Please keep the M.O.R.E. Center in your thoughts and prayers; not only for those that we seek to help, but also for our volunteers.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director

 


A Generous Community. . .Thank You!

February 2009

I continue to be amazed at the generosity of the Marengo-Union community. The food and clothing donations continue to pour in from businesses, individuals, churches and organizations, even though the economic situation is tenuous. I guess that I should not be surprised, because this is the community that provided us the M.O.R.E. Center and the continuing support of it. This is the community that enthusiastically supports our fundraising events and food drives and provides our volunteers. It is commendable that we work together so closely and in a caring, personal way. Perhaps that is a perk of being a relatively small community. For whatever the reason, I say, "Thank you and may we continue to strengthen this partnership."

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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Three Programs. . .Three Special People

December 2008

Three very special people make the programs at M.O.R.E. Center run smoothly.  They are Jan Perkins, Food Pantry; Mary Ann Kawall, Emergency Financial Assistance and Salvation Army; and, Deb Keane, Little Portion.

Each of these Directors is totally dedicated to improving the lives of our clients.  Jan Perkins brings 17 years experience in running the food pantry and coordinating the efforts of the volunteers.  She brings a special touch in getting to know the needs of the clients she touches.  Jan has had a number of drastic changes in the move the M.O.R.E. Center, as well as dealing with the growing list of clients.  Jan also headed the Holiday Clearinghouse program which coordinates the efforts of individuals, organizations, and MORE during the holiday season.  This year was, once again, a ground breaking experience with Toys For Tots coming to the M.O.R .E. Center.  While there may be room for improvement next year, the programs came together very well.  Thanks Jan.

Mary Ann Kawall has been with MORE since 2002 and brings her skills of a former case worker to the M.O.R.E. Center when she takes on financial difficulties of our clients.  Her efforts go toward giving assistance to those facing utility shut-offs, evictions, prescription needs, and many other emergency problems that arise.  Mary Ann works closely with other agencies including township supervisors, Salvation Army, the Housing Authority, the Department of Human Services, churches, local businesses and other private and public social agencies.  She often attempts to bundle a package of assistance from two or more agencies.  One agency alone may not be enough, but by working together, a family may be able to stay in their home or a utility gets turned on.  Mary Ann often spends hours on just one case and the client list is growing.  Thanks Mary Ann.

Deb Keane directs the Little Portion which provides clothing and household items to our clients.  She has been with the food pantry and MORE for ten years.  When the M.O.R.E. Center opened, this new program became her responsibility.  She directs a staff of dedicated individuals who enjoy sorting, organizing and displaying clothing and items.  Our clients are well-served with warm coats, boots, gloves, sweatshirts, jeans, shoes and items for their apartments.  The task of rotating in and out of items is an ever-present challenge.  Deb is also able to “connect” with clients’ needs and informs them of other MORE programs.  Deb is an integral part in the make-up of our MORE programs.  Thanks Deb.

Sincerely,

Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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Gearing Up For the Holidays

October 2008

Here at the M.O.R.E. Center, we are gearing up for the holidays. Our Holiday Clearinghouse program, led by Janice Perkins, synchronizes various community efforts to help the needy families of Marengo and Union during the holiday season. This includes Angel Tree, Toys For Tots, holiday food boxes and other programs. M.O.R.E. provides a screening process of recipients and coordinated distribution in order to reach all needy families, to assure equity among those receiving help and to discourage abuse. And, M.O.R.E. steps in to meet special situations.

Angel Tree provides clothing items to less fortunate children. Various businesses about town have Christmas trees with tags of names and needs. Stop in and pick one or two up.

Toys For Tots, sponsored by the Marines, provides new toys to children. Collection bins are provided about town for new, unwrapped toys.

While you go about your daily routine, perhaps concerned about our own future, let's count our blessings and remember that there are those in our community in situations far worse than most of us. M.O.R.E. is here to lend a helping hand to them and also to you, if you find yourself in immediate need of basic life necessities. Just give us a call.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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A Year in the M.O.R.E. Center: Keeping Our Mission

July 2008

August 8 marks a full year in M.O.R.E. Center. It's amazing how much we have grown in that past year. We went from a handful of volunteers, to more than 80. We have grown in the services we offer and, for the most part, we are very proud of our programs. With this success, however, we have become the "go to" agency, the first responders, in the Marengo-Union area for people in difficult situations.

Over the past few months we have been noticing a large increase in clients needing food and emergency assistance. Not only are our numbers up, but the severity of cases is quite noticeable. The country's economic down turn, the mortgage crisis and the reductions in social services are all contributing to a growing number of individuals and families entering poverty level. The stresses of losing a house or apartment, a job, a car, your health, your spouse or children and countless other issues can create depression and volatility in individuals. We are seeing many first timers and they are embarrassed to enter our doors, they are upset, emotionally drained, and they don't know what to expect. We offer advice, food, clothing and household items, and perhaps financial assistance. Sometimes we just listen and console them, but we do it with respect and dignity.

It is difficult for most of us to recognize that in McHenry County, a rich county in many ways, homeless individuals and families actually exist. But they do, and we see it every week. It is difficult for us to give a mother a bag of food that she and her son will be able to eat in their car. But we do it and wish her luck. It is difficult to watch an individual walk away from our Center with a bag of food and that person's next goal being to find a friend, any friend, with a couch for the night. But, again we do it with hope that we are helping this person make it to the day when a job can be found. That's what we do.

I mention these things to let you know we are trying to help in the best ways we can with what we have. We are all volunteers. No one is paid. We depend on your continued support even if the only way that you can help is to wish us luck and to speak positively to others of our constant needs. We are immensely thankful for all the generous and caring organizations and individuals in our community.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts
Executive Director  

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Welcome from the Excutive Director

March 2008

Dear visitor:

Welcome to our website! We hope that as you explore the pages, you are beginning to get a feeling of pride and ownership in the M.O.R.E. Center. After all, this has been and still is a community project that seems to have taken on a life of its own.

From our Board of Directors to our Program Directors, we say "Thank you, Marengo". Thank you for your donations of money. Thank you for your volunteering. Thank you for donating food to the numerous drives. Thank you for your good used clothing. And thank you for speaking positively about what we do. It takes numerous volunteers to operate the M.O.R.E. Center. Our Program Directors spend countless hours in meeting the needs of individuals and families in desperate situations and our volunteers carry out the many jobs from week to week. So, be sure to thank these people.

Please check our website from time to time. We will keep you posted about our various needs, news and events. Things seem to be happening here all the time. If you want to volunteer, fill out the application provided here and send it in. If you or someone you know is in need of our services, please come in. You'll be greeted with friendliness, sincerity and discreteness.

Sincerely,

 Bob Botts,
Executive Director  

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