Palos students donate food, new principal at Marian

Souperbowl of Caring collects more than 4,700 donations in Palos Park

Students at Palos West Elementary School in Palos Park prepared for the Super Bowl Sunday by hosting a food drive to benefit area food pantries. This year, the school’s annual Souperbowl of Caring generated 4,718 donations for the Palos Township Food Pantry program, an increase of more than 1,200 donations from the 2023 campaign.

The annual collection pits school levels against each other to see which can generate the most donations. This year, the school’s fourth grade classes were the champions, gathering more than 1,000 donations and winning a spring party.

Principal Jennifer Peloquin said the food drive has been a Palos West tradition for over 20 years and is a wonderful way for students to help their community.

“It’s always great to see the enthusiasm not only from students, but also from staff and community members,” she said.

Shepard staff joins alumni for scholarship drive

Shepard High School staff members Kathy Lachowicz, from left, and Tim Butler recently presented more than 100 purses donated by Shepard staff members to Catherine O’Hara, a Shepard alumna who is collecting handbags for victims of domestic violence for years. (Bob McParland/School District 218)

Staff members from Shepard High School in Palos Heights joined Shepard graduate Catherine O’Hara in collecting purses to donate to victims of domestic violence. Shepard staff members donated more than 100 handbags to the campaign, an annual effort at the O’Hara and Friends salon at 70th Avenue and 127th Street in Palos Heights.

The purses, all in mint condition, offer a small kindness, according to a school press release. Many victims of domestic violence must leave their residence without notice to avoid further abuse.

Shepard staff members Kathy Lachowicz and Tim Butler delivered the handbags to the salon for distribution.

Marian Catholic graduate returns as new school principal

Joe Zampillo, a 1989 Marian Catholic High School graduate, was hired as principal of the Chicago Heights school.  (Marian Catholic High School)
Joe Zampillo, a 1989 Marian Catholic High School graduate, was hired as principal of the Chicago Heights school. (Marian Catholic High School)

Joe Zampillo, a 1989 graduate of Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, was hired as the school’s ninth principal. He will officially take the reins for the 2024-25 academic year.

Zampillo, principal of Central Middle School in Evergreen Park, has 28 years of experience in education, including 21 years as an administrator. He was previously principal at Worth Junior High School in Worth.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to return to serve the school community that has not only given me so much, but continues to be an invaluable source of support,” Zampillo said in a school press release . “This marks an important full-circle moment for me.”

The school will host opportunities for the Marian Catholic community to meet and greet Dr. Zampillo in the coming weeks.

Ramadan decoration party draws hundreds to Oak Lawn

More than 300 people enjoyed free coffee and tea provided by Qamari Coffee Company at the Ramadan Decorating Night hosted by Richards High School in Oak Lawn.  (Bob McParland/School District 218)
More than 300 people enjoyed free coffee and tea provided by Qamari Coffee Company at the Ramadan Decorating Night hosted by Richards High School in Oak Lawn. (Bob McParland/School District 218)

Richards High School in Oak Lawn welcomed a crowd of more than 300 people to the first Ramadan decoration party last week.

Hosted by Richards staffer Sara Bages, the event included free falafel sandwiches, coffee and tea provided by Qamari Coffee Company of Chicago Ridge and desserts from Selma’s Sweets.

Families could sit and create decorations celebrating Ramadan. The event also included a photo booth and games for young children and teens.

Will County group donates $7,000 to Lockport school

The Taft Foundation received a donation from more than 100 women caring for Will County

Members of more than 100 Women Who Care for Will County came together last week to present a “big check” for $7,200 to the Taft Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports programs and equipment for students in Taft Grade School District 90 in Lockport.

The district’s small size limits its institutional resources, so this donation was welcome, officials said in a news release.

“We are a small group of 9 dedicated members, and it takes a lot of time and manpower to raise over $7,000 in funding on our own,” said foundation director Christine Jelinek, noting that funds will be directed toward an art program for elementary grades.

100+ Women Who Care of Will County is a philanthropic group of local women interested in supporting communities by contributing to Will County charities together as a group to increase the impact of donations. Their next meeting will be April 9 from 6 to 7 p.m. at Coom’s Corner, 1225 E 9th St., Lockport. More information at www.100wwc-will.org.

Blues Brothers musicians come to the Joliet History Museum

The Joliet Area Historical Museum, in partnership with Heritage Corridor Destinations, brings Tom “Bones” Malone and “Blue” Lou Marini, original members of the Blues Brothers, to Joliet for a Q&A session at the museum, 204 N .Ottawa St.

An Evening With Bones & Blue will be held at 7 p.m. on March 21 in the museum auditorium. The musicians will share memories and stories about the creation of “The Blues Brothers” and their years spent making music with some of the most renowned musicians in the world.

Admission is $35 for museum members and $40 for others. Reservations can be made at www.jolietmuseum.org or at 815-723-5201. Proceeds from the event support the Joliet Area Historical Museum’s “Blues Preservation Project,” designed to celebrate and preserve the best of the blues and keep it alive! The museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Will the county health department host food bank markets

The Will County Health Department will host five Northern Illinois Food Bank mobile markets from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on March 21, April 18, May 16, June 14 and July 12.

The mobile market will be held in the parking lot of the Will County Health Department main office at 501 Ella Avenue in Joliet. Anyone in need of food assistance can receive free groceries. No identification, documentation or approval is required. Distribution is on a first come, first served basis and while stocks last. The market will be a drive-thru model and people will not have to get out of their vehicles to shop.

More information and resources are available at www.solvehungertoday.org/get-groceries-resource.

Send news to communitynews@southtownstar.com.

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