About 1,000 people — homeless and low-income — knew they weren’t forgotten on Easter Sunday in the metro area.
That’s because Shelby Blecha, Rachael Cambridge and countless other volunteers came together to make sure they had a hot meal during the annual Spring Gathering at the downtown Old Chicago restaurant.
“I can see my family later, but some people don’t have a place to go,” said Blecha, who also works at Old Chicago.
The four-hour event was hosted by Old Chicago Restaurants, Lucky Bucket Brewing Co. and the CraftWorks Foundation.
After volunteering last year, Cambridge, an Old Chicago employee, decided to participate again this year.
“I like it because it’s something that Old Chicago does,” Cambridge said. “It has such a big impact on the community, but it’s really low-key.”
Guests received a meal of baked chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, green beans, rolls and pie.
The company hosts the event because it’s needed, said Ken Delaney, regional manager at Old Chicago. “There are a lot of folks in our community who need a helping hand.”
After eating, families were provided with fleece jackets and a variety of toiletries.
Children received Easter baskets and photos with the Easter Bunny.
Lorissa Pitzl has dressed up as the Easter Bunny for seven years at the event. Most children enjoy it, she said, but she encounters kids who are afraid of the Easter Bunny.
“Little kids are so innocent,” Pitzl said.
The event makes sure the spring holiday isn’t lost.
“There’s so much giving at other holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, that Easter is forgotten,” Delaney said. “People are very, very thankful.”
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