This week in The Times: Ann Honer

Vitals: Ann Honer, of Rockford, recently asked herself what the homeless men and women of the Rock River Valley may need most during yet another harsh winter in the Midwest. Her answer: warm socks. Her efforts, and the efforts of other agencies and churches around Rockford, resulted in the donation of more than 300 pairs of warm socks, 12 knit hats and two bags of sweatshirts. Collecting warm winter wear for the less fortunate citizens in the area is among her numerous charitable endeavors.

1. If you could choose any elected official – local, state or national – to speak with one-on-one, who would it be and what would you say? I would like to ask President Barack Obama (D) to find a way to lower the poverty level of this country. In October of this last year, there were over 33,000 people below the poverty level in Winnebago County alone. And 12,000 of those were children.

2. If you were to move away from the Rock River Valley, what three things would you miss the most? I would miss our family, our friends and also the Barnabas Ministry.

3. What motivated you to collect socks for the homeless? I felt that I would like to do a meaningful project, and the idea came into my head that the homeless must have cold feet. So I thought about collecting socks. It was confirmed the next day when Penney’s Outlet sent out a flier with a one-day sale on heavy-duty men’s socks. I bought 200 pairs of socks on faith that I would get donations for them and, at the end of the first week, friends had donated enough to cover 100 pairs. The next week, I took the remainder to Shepherd of the Valley Church, and they generously contributed the money for the rest, plus enough to buy another 100 pairs and 12 knit hats. Meantime, our daughter had contacted Durand school to see if they would like to participate. Thanks to the children there, we raised another 200 pairs of socks. So, in total, we had 500 pairs of socks, 12 knit hats and two bags of sweatshirts! With the help of friends, we tied each pair of socks with twine and added a small card that said: “The Lord walks with you.” We also attached a personal message from the donor. We divided them up between three ministries: Rockford Rescue Mission, Carpenter’s Place and Rock House Kids. I want to thank everyone who helped to make this a success.

4. What other charitable activities are you involved in, and why are they important to you? I have been a Barnabas Minister at P.A. Peterson for eight years. This organization was started by Chaplain Chuck Olson, and he teaches all the training classes. We have around 65 active ministers at this time. Our goal is that every resident who wants one will have a Barnabas Minister to visit with them at least once a month. Last year, between us, we logged over 900 visits. I think that all charitable activities are important, because they are a way to give back to the community that has supported us, and also a way to give thanks for all that we have received.

5. Question from last week’s “This week in The Times” participant, Jason Clifton: What plans, if any, do you have for watching this year’s Super Bowl? We have no plans for the Super Bowl!

“This week in The Times” is a weekly survey of people selected by The Rock River Times staff. The column does not accept unsolicited submissions.

From the Jan. 20-26, 2010 issue

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