SPRINGFIELD (Nov. 8, 2017) — Volunteers who have improved their communities in impactful and significant ways were honored today at the Governor’s Hometown Awards ceremony at the Old State Capitol.
Macon County won this year’s Governor’s Cup for creating one of the largest one-day food drives in the nation through the WSOY Community Food Drive project. The event supplied the community food banks for an entire year, and in 2016 the WSOY Community Food Drive raised 1.4 million pounds of food.
“At the heart of every hometown is a group of dedicated volunteers who make their community a better place for every resident,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said before the gathering. “These projects highlight the incredible kindness of Illinoisans from across the state and the power of neighborly acts of service.”
More than 2.4 million Illinoisans volunteered in 2015, and Illinois was ranked the No. 1 volunteering state amongst the five most populous states in the country, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service.
For the Governor’s Hometown Awards, judges reviewed all nominations in a preliminary round Oct. 3-4, 2017. From the preliminary judging round, 14 locations were chosen as project winners or runners up. Of those 14, four finalists presented today to the new panel of judges, which selected the Governor’s Cup winner.
Along with Macon County, cup finalists included the city of East St. Louis – Join Hands Advocacy Project, city of Kewanee – Step Ladder Tutoring Program, and the city of Waterloo – Monroe County House of Neighborly Service.
“In reviewing the Governor’s Hometown Award applications, it has re-confirmed for me that the citizens of Illinois continue to give back to their communities in remarkable and innovative ways,” said Jeff Turnbull, chairman of the Serve Illinois Commission. “The applicants have shown that when people give back to their communities through volunteering, cities become stronger, neighborhoods become safer, and people become better because of it.”
“We are pleased that through the preliminary round of judging, 14 localities have been recognized as either cup finalists or project winners of the program,” said Scott McFarland, executive director of the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. “Through these awards, we are honored to be able to highlight these projects and the people who gave back.”
The Serve Illinois Commission is a bipartisan board appointed by the governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the state.
To nominate your community for a 2018 Hometown Award, or to learn more about available volunteer opportunities, go to www.serve.illinois.gov.