Rosemont’s Helping Hand Raises Funds For Those In Need
By TODD WESSELL | Journal & Topics Editor
Rosemont, like nearly every community across the country, is home to some people who are in need of help.
Two years after the number of families desiring assistance in the village showed signs of letting up, the arrival of the COVID-19 virus has brought back the increasing need for help.
Stepping up to the plate, like it has for more than 20 years, is Rosemont’s Helping Hand organization.
Spearheaded by local resident Rick Drehobl, a retired Rosemont police officer, Helping Hand raises funds throughout the year to pay for gift cards that are given to those in need. Each family identified as a recipient is invited to receive a card valued at $50. Each child of those families gets a card worth $10. The cards are used to pay for items like food, at the local Target store.
This holiday year, 166 families are eligible to receive cards and 220 children. Needy families are identified through assistance from local schools that serve the village, the Rosemont Park District, and the Barry Recreational Center.
“We are very fortunate in our lives, but some are not as fortunate,” said Drehobl this week. He explained that about 20 years ago he made it known that he wanted to become involved in an effort to give back to the community. That led him to Helping Hand where he, Marilyn Wilson and Frank Cargola occasionally meet via telephone and texting to manage the effort.
Drehobl stressed that a large sum of the money generated for Helping Hand comes from the Rosemont Chamber’s annual holiday party at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. He added that Mayor Brad Stephens’ efforts to raise funds is a major reason why so many people can be helped.
“And for the last several years our seniors have been making stockings for the children.”
Among the Rosemont residents who need and receive financial assistance from Helping Hand are families with three to five children who cannot afford child care. In those cases, the mother cannot work to earn money to pay for family needs. With Helping Hands assistance, they know they can receive help from a community that cares.