Last year the Humanitarian Service Project (HSP) distributed 23 tons of food and 23 tons of toys to 1,264 needy children through its Christmas Program.
More than 30 years ago, an Illinois couple decided to reach out and help needy families in DuPage and Cane counties at Christmas time. Starting from a spare room in their home, Karole and Floyd Kettering began with 35 families the first year and provided them children’s Christmas gifts. Through that experience, co-founder Karole Kettering learned that she had to keep providing this service because she knew it had made a difference.
With the support of the community, HSP has been able to provide up to 200 families each year with not only a minimum of five gifts for each child, but also three week’s worth of food. Co-founder Karole Kettering has extended the HSP programs a number of times, and each new extension revealed more people in need. Kettering found additional times during the year when gifts and meals are appreciated.
With the move to a larger space in 1992, Karole started soliciting books and toys for children’s birthdays. Initially, 500 needy children received birthday gifts. At one point, the program reached 1,200 children, and it currently maintains support of 700.
In 2004, Karole read an article about children being hungry in the summer when school is not in session. Karole began HSP’s summer food program that year with an extra-large food donation and provided resources to 14 families (40 children). It now supports 100 families (350 children) that are also a part of the birthday project with 200-250 pounds of food (valued at $500) each month for the three summer months.
Subaru of America Foundation helps support HSP’s summer meal program for kids. Support from Subaru began in 2005 and continued five out of the last seven years. “It’s a privilege to be able to work with all the other people that want to make a difference,” explained Karole. “We have the opportunity of working with people that really want to help to channel it to those that actually need it,” added Floyd Kettering.
In addition to these programs, HSP also supports the area school supply drive and a program that helps subsidize 120 senior citizens each month. Once selected for the program, a senior will receive support for the rest of his or her life.
Right now HSP is expanding its warehouse space in hopes of increasing its service level by 50 percent. “The need never goes away. We want to serve these families year-round in the future. We want to really make a difference,” expressed Karole.
For more information about HSP, visit http://humanitarianservice.org.
Subaru of America, Inc. believes in supporting the communities in which its employees live and work. To that end, Subaru builds community partnerships with organizations that share its drive and passion. These organizations are primarily ones that enhance the academic learning experience for young people.