Salvation Army helps many in Norridge
Kimm Schild (left) of Elmwood Park picks out toys for her son with volunteer Kim Stark of Chicago, during the toy and food distribution at The Salvation Army of Norridge on Dec. 13. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 21, 2013 2:05PM
NORRIDGE — The actions of many, embodying the spirit of Christmas, had helped make the season bright.
A host of volunteers and about 75 businesses have donated time, money, gifts and food to the Salvation Army Norridge Citadel.
The organization offers its services to residents of the near north and west suburbs.
“Personal shoppers” helped “customers” choose among tables laden with toys and clothing.
Ramona Nemeth of Norridge, a member of international service organization Beta Sigma Phi, said being able to volunteer filled her with joy.
“I’ve always loved the Salvation Army,” she said.
“My mom grew up during the Depression,” Nemeth added. “She always said her family would have starved if not for them. They’re the best.”
Chiropractor Sara Keuss became involved through one of her patients.
“Last year we participated in the Angel Tree program where you buy gifts, but this year we wanted to get more involved,” she said as she helped mother select clothing for her children.
Keuss later called the experience humbling.
“The amount of generosity from my patients, the community, is overwhelming,” she noted. “This is the spirit of the season.”
The Angel Tree program is near and dear to Cora Burton of Oak Park.
The program consists of tags that represent the specific needs and wishes of children that then are hung on representative Christmas trees distributed throughout the area.
Anyone interested in helping a child in need takes a tag, fulfills the request and brings the items to the citadel.
This year the program had volunteers to translate for those who spoke Arabic, Polish or Spanish.
“It was a Godsend,” Burton said. “We were able to communicate.”
The volunteers’ efforts were not lost on those in need of a little help this year.
“It’s hard, especially during the holidays,” said a mother from Schiller Park. “Now I’m able to give my kids some toys.”
A mother from River Grove had just started a new job but still needed a little help for Christmas.
“I don’t know what I would have done,” she said. “This is so important.”
As it was for Dr. DiChristofano, who brought many members of his dental staff to help out.
“This is so fulfilling,” he said.