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Kids pitch in to help city's hungry

Scott and Ruth Dills' children, Maya, 8, Helena, 4, and Theodore, 1 1/2 , help bag sack lunches at the Franciscan Center on Tuesday mornings.
Scott and Ruth Dills' children, Maya, 8, Helena, 4, and Theodore, 1 1/2 , help bag sack lunches at the Franciscan Center on Tuesday mornings.

More Information

The gift of a lunch

For more information on the Franciscan Center or to volunteer, call 744-3977, send an e-mail to contact@thefranciscancenter.org, go to www.thefranciscancenter.org or stop by the center at 4643 Gaywood Drive.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

All five members of the Dills family enjoy Tuesday lunch packing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 12:01 am
Every Tuesday morning, the Dills family makes a point to spend a few hours together. They don't watch a movie or play in the park — they volunteer at the Franciscan Center with the sack-lunch program.The five-member family helps bag sack lunches on Tuesdays with other volunteers. They put three food items in a bag, such as chips, candy or granola bars, and napkins. At that point, the bags are ready for Thursday, when the sandwiches are added. The bags are delivered Saturday to the hungry throughout the community.

More than 30 volunteers spend about 75 hours each week to prepare more than 1,200 sack lunches, according to the Franciscan Center website, www.thefranciscancenter.org.

Maya, 8, Helena, 4, and Theodore, 1 1/2 , are quite the little helpers, said Sandra Pleus, coordinator of the sack-lunch program.

All three began helping when they weren't quite 1-year-old, said Scott Dills, their father.

“It's so cute seeing those kids put food in bags,” Pleus said.

The children enjoy their Tuesdays helping out others.

“We make a point to tell them exactly what we do,” Dills said. “They love doing it; they know they're making a difference.”

The children understand the sack lunches are going to kids their age, he said.

The family began volunteering at the Franciscan Center after his wife, Ruth, was looking for a place to volunteer. She has been helping at the center since 2002, and he has since 2004.

Pleus is thankful for all the family has done for the Franciscan Center.

“They're wonderful; they really have helped me out,” she said. “He (Mr. Dills) lifts a lot of heavy stuff for me, and they clean up after — sweep, put stuff away.”

Pleus has been directing the sack-lunch program for 10 years and appreciates the many families who have helped. “They come when there is bad weather,” she said. “All enjoy it, all love it.”

There is even one 98-year-old woman who volunteers every Tuesday and Thursday, Pleus said.

The most rewarding aspect of volunteering for the Dills family is the people whose lives they have touched.

“People that we have met along the way, people who come in all the time,” Scott Dills said. “The people we work close with — the regular volunteers every week like us.”

The Dills plan to continue their volunteer work for many more years.

“I can't see my Tuesdays being any different anytime soon,” Scott Dills said.

More Information

The gift of a lunch

For more information on the Franciscan Center or to volunteer, call 744-3977, send an e-mail to contact@thefranciscancenter.org, go to www.thefranciscancenter.org or stop by the center at 4643 Gaywood Drive.

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