Holiday cheer and the spirit of generosity returned to the corridors and cubicles of the Kenosha County Job Center this month, as Division of Children and Family Services staff welcomed the in-person return of an annual effort to help families in need.
The Feed 100 Families Food Drive is a DCFS effort to collect food to feed 100 families in need, while also engaging in some friendly competition.
Members of the various units within the division collect food and cash donations, which are then distributed to families referred by DCFS staff and local schools.
Participants also decorate their work areas within the Job Center and sometimes stage elaborate performances and activities as they present their donations to the contest judge, Kenosha County Human Services Director John Jansen.
Jansen, in turn, awards trophies for the Most Creative and Most Generous units.
This year’s winners were:
- Most Creative: The Ongoing Services unit, with a series of “Winter Wonderland” games that saw Jansen and his judicial helpers, DCFS Director Ron Rogers and Gang Intervention Supervisor Donna Rhodes, engaging in competitive battles of red light/green light, hopscotch and a gingerbread man decorating contest. Construction paper snowflake decorations hanging from the ceiling throughout the unit’s office area bore the names of the 151 children whom the unit helped to find permanent homes in 2021.
- Most Generous: The Youth Justice and Clerical units, which generated $375 in cash donations to help families in need.
Hundreds of pounds of food were collected this year along with a total of $635 in cash, which was used to purchase more food, all of which was distributed to referred families at a drive-thru event at the Job Center on Saturday, Dec. 4.
“This year, the teams were outstanding,” said Rhodes, who coordinates the food drive. “They really bounced back from not being able to do much during 2020 because of COVID.”
Last year, the drive was still held, but the office decorating and pageantry were relegated to virtually produced videos that were presented to the judges. This year, the participants were all masked up and ready to return to their in-person competition.
“Our employees purchase food and decorate their work units during their time off — this is not done on county work time,” Rhodes said. “Everybody comes in at night, they bring their families, they order pizza. This has just been such a morale builder for the whole division, and in the meantime, we’re also doing something awesome for families in the community.”
In addition to the units mentioned above, participants included staff from the Child Protective Services unit, the Prevention Services Network and the division’s management team.
“Every year, I am impressed by the decorations and the creative themes they come up with, and their generosity is overwhelming,” Jansen said. “I thank this team for the work that they do every day for our Kenosha County families.
More information about the Kenosha County Division of Children and Family Services and its various work areas is available at kenoshacounty.org/241/Children-Family-Services.