anne eickstadt photo Belvidere Republican Pictured here are guest bartenders Rep. Jeff Keicher and Amy Grafton of the Belvidere Family YMCA; Coach’s Corner Team Players Marina and Mario; guest bartenders Eric Miller, Empower Boone Board president, and state Rep. Joe Sosnowski; and Team Player Laura. They all played very important roles in the Empower Boone fundraiser.

By Anne Eickstadt


This fun event to support Empower Boone was held at Coach’s Corner, 622 S. State St. on Thursday evening, Feb. 25. It was a donation drive to stock their toiletry supplies; so guests brought items such as toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, soap and toothpaste. All tips from the night in the cash tip jar were donated to Empower Boone. They raised $756.

“We put on this fundraiser,” said Laura Goding, “to collect personal care items for Empower Boone to support the surrounding areas. We recently did a diaper drive with them also. Baby items are needed as well.”

“Empower Boone was formerly named the Boone County Food Pantry which began in the early 1990s,” said Eric Miller, president of the board of Empower Boone. “Before COVID we were serving 100 to 125 families every week with the size of the family averaging at four persons. Now, we serve 200 to 275 families a week with family size averaging five to six persons. We operate strictly out of Capron but now we are working with the Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB).

“Pop-up food pantries are our newest project. We started doing them last year since so many people needed food. The NIFB received special amounts of product from the Dept. of Agriculture, in addition to its usual deliveries, for distribution.

“Between July 15 and Oct. 31 last year at our pop-up markets we distributed 1.2 million pounds of food. We distributed more than double the amount of food of the next largest market of all of DeKalb County, which distributed 600,000 pounds of food. A lot of the funding we receive is going into pop-up markets and will do so as long as the USDA makes the product available.

“We also accept personal care products and pet food. More information will be found on our website which we are currently rebuilding.”

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