Oak Parkers continue

February 27, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

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Willie Mae - long time volunteer at the food pantry

 

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Hajjar Mohammed-Herbert - Magic Minds Studio

 

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Richard (Dick) Alton - Green community connections and a lifetime of community and international activism

 

So many stories, I really have a difficult time briefly writing something about these people because what they do is not brief, it is usually a lifetime of being part of something bigger than themselves. They are really committed their community.

 

 

I don't think one can live in Oak Park and not have heard of The Food Pantry. It's pretty obvious from the title what they do, but this morning I got to see first hand part of it in action, and once that truck pulls up outside it is action packed. Faces focus in on the task at hand and no one is standing around.

I know some of the 1,500 volunteers that help there but I asked one of the staff for a recommendation on who they thought would represent the volunteers well.  Maybe someone who has volunteered for a long time and does so on a regular basis, that is how I met Willie Mae.

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This morning she was there to help unload the truck and pack the fridge. Here are some photos of her in action.

It's pretty amazing that the food pantry fed 15,873 local families comprised of 44,466 individuals in 2012 from this one room in the basement of a church.

 

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and there was still more to come when I left. For more info on the Pantry visit http://oprffoodpantry.org/

 

 

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Haj started Magic Minds Studio when she realized there was no place in the area for young kids to explore and create all art has to offer. The studio is designed for children to come and express themselves, grow their spirits, work on skills that will help them in future educational settings and have fun!

 

It's not surprising that Haj spent a big chunk of her childhood in the west bank where everyone was part of the family. In the rural villages when it was time to eat dinner you ate at the house you were closest to, everyone watched out for one another. Starting her own family it was important to find a home with a strong community and there weren't many choices for her past Oak park.

 

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Willie Mae spent a few years living in the Haight area of San Francisco back in the day, while Dick went to school at Berkeley during Berkeley 'active' years, not really shocking that they continue to be invested in a better world.

I stopped by Dicks home early one morning. He had already been to an Oak Park community foundation meeting and was off to his next meeting as I left. I've known him to see for a couple of years through Green Community Connection events. He and his partner Sally name's have come up more than once when talking to people about this photo project. I'm not going to try to summarize all their work, I will just say they are a huge inspiration to many people here in our village.

 

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