'Tis the day for turkey and pie.
But for many people in Crystal Lake, today marks the arrival of the 2012 Community Harvest.
Donations last Friday began pouring in at the Community Harvest collection site, located this year in the Crystal Lake Plaza- unit 2D. On Friday, the Crystal Lake Jaycees traveled throughout the community and picked up 10,000 pounds of food and non-perishable donations from Crystal Lake schools.
The Jaycees were expected to collect more school donations on Monday.
Over the weekend, area churches delivered another 10,000 pounds in food donations, said Judy Pelinksi, who has served as chairperson of the Community Harvest for the past six years.
Donations will be accepted through Thursday morning, when, at 8 a.m., hundreds of volunteers are anticipated to arrive at the 14,000-square-foot empty retail space to sort and box food and supplies to be used by the Crystal Lake Food Pantry.
"We will probably have about 300 volunteers waiting to help right at 8 a.m.," Pelinski said. "You should see it. They are so excited to get to work. We have people who look forward to this all year."
Community Harvest, in its 22nd year, is a massive community-wide food drive jointly coordinated by the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Crystal Lake Food Pantry and the Crystal Lake Jaycees. The donations, food and money, benefit the pantry patrons and the Jaycees’ Share-A-Christmas program.
The harvest is a combination of "hundreds" of smaller food drives hosted throughout the city by participating businesses, schools, churches, the library, civic organizations, scouting troops, and individuals.
Last year, more than 700 people turned out Thanksgiving morning and packed 3,500 boxes of donations. The 2011 harvest raised a record-high $45,000 and more than 97,668 pounds of food and donations, Pelinski said.
The Community Harvest headquarters site will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Wednesday, Nov. 21. Anyone is welcome to bring donations during that time, Pelinski said.
Doors open at 8 a.m. Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, for the big event. Volunteers will work until 11 a.m. For those who want to help, but can't attend the Community Harvest packing event, there are other options:
How to Donate
Donations can be made online at clpantry.org; checks made payable to the Crystal Lake Food Pantry and mailed to P.O. Box 1071, Crystal Lake, IL 60039-1071, with “Community Harvest” noted in the memo section.