CASEYVILLE — They wanted to warm the hearts of residents who have less than them, so a group of volunteers got together and formed "Caseyville Neighbors helping Neighbors."
Families collected 150 baskets of food that were laid out over several tables Monday at Village Hall. In each basket, bag or box, there were canned goods, boxes of stuffing, a turkey, a ham, a loaf of bread, cranberry sauce and more. The room was abuzz with chatter and laughter while the volunteers handed out the food and packed vehicles to make deliveries.
Some of the people who received the helping had cried and thanked Mayor Len Black and the team of volunteers who made it happen for them.
Black, the chairman of team, said he did his part to help because he believes everyone should help someone else. But, he said most of the credit goes to the members of the group and all of the volunteers who showed up to help assemble the baskets. Some made deliveries to the people who couldn't get to the Village Hall.
"The organization was solely established to help every citizen of Caseyville to live a better and a safer life. We always put people and our community over politics," Black said.
Black said the group is "not a political organization and is not affiliated with any political group. Everyone regardless of their religious beliefs, politics or ethnicity and any other organization who wants to join us in making Caseyville a place where neighbors truly help neighbors is welcome," Black said.
Some individuals who came to the Village Hall said they weren't sure what they or their families were going to eat. Some were wide-eyed and looked as though they couldn't believe the generosity.
Montica Watt said it all started after a resident called to find out whether she knew of anyone who would be helping to feed the needy this year at Thanksgiving.
"I called around and when I couldn't find anyone, I thought, 'Well, why don't we do something -- starting with me," she said.
She and her husband, Rob Watt, dug into their pockets personally and came up with some Thanksgiving fixings for the woman who called. The effort just took off from there.
Numerous volunteers showed up Sunday to help assemble baskets. The group received donations from Eckert's Orchards, Cracker Barrel and Burger King.