South Beloit woman, Jefferson students awarded for volunteer work

From press release

Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB) recently celebrated their 12th annual Celebration of Caring event to honor top companies, groups and individuals for their commitment to fight hunger through volunteer efforts. The event was held at the Kane County Cougars Stadium during a recent home game. Veronica “Ronnie” Farrell, of South Beloit, was recognized as the Rockford Area Branch Volunteer of the Year, and a group of Jefferson High School students were recognized as the Outstanding Youth Group of the Year.

Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Farrell

As with each of NIFB’s locations, the Rockford Area Branch has seen a number of new volunteers. As one of these new volunteers, Veronica Farrell walked into the Rockford Area Branch in 2008. New to the area, she was looking for ways to get involved in the community. Luckily for NIFB, she was hooked from day one.

Farrell is a mother of four—three of whom are in college and one in high school. She has a husband who spends more time in Europe on business than in the U.S., and she still manages her family life and finds time to volunteer twice a week.

Farrell has become an instrumental part of the Rockford Branch. She handles the phones, steering each call in the right direction; she greets all visitors and volunteers with warmth and kindness; she assists with research projects; she keeps the inventory of product labels flowing; and she helps out with the Emergency Food Program Signature Sheets.

Farrell volunteers every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from noon to 3 p.m. She has even brought in her son to help on the truck with various deliveries and pickups.

Jefferson High School students

Throughout the year, NIFB has the honor of working with engaged youth wanting to do what they can to help in the fight against hunger. This year, a group of Jefferson High School students stand out as perfect recipients of the Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award.

Each and every week, groups of intelligent, motivated, students arrive at the Rockford Area Branch ready to work. They help sort, evaluate and label donated food product, and the outcome and benefit of all their hard work has been phenomenal.

This daily influx of volunteers allows NIFB to continue to provide the food bank’s agency partners with much-needed food. It also allows the students to gain valuable work skills while helping ease hunger in their community. The students have been responsible for the processing of more than 300,000 pounds of food products.

These individuals and thousands of others provided more than 60,000 volunteer hours last year to NIFB.

For more about NIFB, recently named 2010 Member Food Bank of the Year by Feeding America, visit

From the June 9-15, 2010 issue

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