Simmons Hanly Conroy employees donate 27,378 pounds of food

Les Hahn, George Colahan, and Steve Whitehead are volunteers with the Community Hope Center in Cottage Hills. They were happy to receive one of the five donations of food from the Simmons Employee Foundation Food Drive on Friday.

ALTON — Simmons Hanly Conroy employees collected 27,378 pounds of food during the law firm’s 11th annual Simmons Employee Foundation Food Drive and donated it to five food pantries on Friday.  

“We strongly believe in supporting the communities we call home,” Simmons Hanly Conroy Chairman John Simmons said. “The SEF food drive is just one of the many ways our employees are able to make a difference in people’s lives beyond the courtroom. We hope our neighbors in need and their families are able to eat well this holiday season.”

From Oct. 6 to Nov. 17, employees paid to participate in interoffice activities — including raffles, Fan Day Fridays, and a Halloween costume contest — to help raise the money needed to buy food, which amounted to about 5,000 pounds per pantry. 

The five pantries that benefited from the drive included the Crisis Food Center and the Salvation Army in Alton, the Community Hope Center in Cottage Hills, the Collinsville Area Ministerial Association’s Helping Hands Food Pantry in Collinsville, and the Community Care Center in Granite City.

“We are so fortunate that businesses like Simmons Hanly Conroy understand the importance of caring for our neighbors,” Community Hope Center Executive Director Paul Militzer said. “Their generosity, like so many others we rely on for donations, is invaluable not only to us but to everyone we serve.”

For close to 30 years, the Community Hope Center has provided a pantry for area residents. Open four days a week, the pantry serves 60-105 families per day, some traveling from as far as nine counties away so they can feed their families.

“It takes approximately 50 volunteers to keep us running every day,” Militzer said. “It takes an incredible amount of passion to commit so much of your time to others. I’m very lucky to be able to work alongside them.”

In addition to a food pantry, Community Hope Center offers a soup kitchen Monday through Wednesday, haircuts, household items, toiletry items, Easter baskets for children, and on-site doctor visits — all at no cost. One of the center’s larger service projects is making Christmas merrier for 500 children every year — but this year they’re going to need more help to make that happen.

“Due to a mix-up in coordination, the primary organization that helps us purchase toys for all those children cannot help this year,” Militzer said. “It’s going to be more difficult to reach our goal this year, but I have faith that our community will rally and we can make it happen.”

For close to 10 years, the foundation has made a monetary donation to help Community Hope Center purchase Christmas presents for children. This year, as the foundation once again follows this tradition, it hopes other local businesses will join it in supporting such an important cause.

To make a donation, contact the Community Hope Center at (618) 259-0959 and ask for Ann. To volunteer your time with any of the services the center offers, ask for Sherry. For more information, visit the center’s website. 

Learn more about how the Simmons Employee Foundation gives back at its website.

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