4-H finds fundraising niche at Elburn Co-Op
Members offer coffee, donuts and lunches for donations
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARKâ€”Lincoln Highway 4-H Club found an ideal place to raise moneyâ€”the Elburn Co-Op in Maple Park. For the past few Saturdays, club members have offered coffee, donuts, and lunches for donations to company employees and farmers dropping off their grain.
Club parent Anne Gorenz said her husband came up with the idea.
â€œWe were driving past the co-op on Meredith Road one day, and (he) saw the long, long line of trucks and said, ‘That is how you guys (the 4-H club) could earn money, selling coffee, donuts and hot dogs to the people waiting in line,'” Gorenz said.
Gorenz and club leader Kim Halverson gathered a group of 4-H members the following Saturday, Nov. 21, and for donations served up coffee and donuts in the morning and hot dogs for lunch at the co-op. Since then, the club has been at the co-op every Saturday, making about $80 each time for the club.
Farmers and co-op members give whatever donation they want in exchange for the morning and afternoon treats. Gorenz said the response has been positive.
â€œThe drivers and employees at the co-op are most welcoming, appreciative, friendly and very generous to the kids,â€ she said.
Co-op manager Cory Davidson is among company staffers who have donated money in exchange for hot dogs and hamburgers, having given about $30 so far to club members he just cannot turn down.
â€œThese kids are really good salesmen,â€ Davidson said.
The club has expanded its Saturday offerings to include chili and BBQ beef, Italian beef and pork chop sandwiches, as well as soda, chips and desserts made by 4-H families.
Club member J.C. Gillett, 17, said he believes many people are generous with their donations because they know it is for a good cause. The money generated by the project will help fund 4-H community projects, including buying trophies for 4-H competitions, and supporting the Angel Tree children’s gift program, Easter and Halloween programs at the Maple Park Community Center.
Gillett has helped with another aspect of the fundraiser, selling raffle tickets at the co-op In conjunction with the food-for-donations effort. The raffle tickets are for a $250 gift certificate to Reams Elburn Market.
Reams donated the gift certificate, and the co-op purchased the coffee and donuts, to help with the 4-H fundraiser. The co-op also has allowed the 4-H’ers to use its golf carts to travel down the line of vehicles often 30-deep alongside the grain elevator.
The 4-H club plans to hold the Saturday fundraiser at the co-op as long as there is a desire and a hungry audience, Gorenz said.
â€œUntil the crops are all out of the fields, there will be lines of people hauling in, and Lincoln Highway 4-Hers will be there to help ease the grumbling stomachs of those waiting,â€ she said.
Photo: Lincoln Highway 4-H Club members, from left, Megan Wiesbrock, Catherine Gorenz and Elena Halverson, took a break during the club’s Saturday fundraiser at the Elburn Co-Op in Maple Park. Club parent Ed Gorenz joined them in a tractor at the co-op while indulging in a hot-dog lunch. Courtesy Photo