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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Drive-Thru Celebrations Aren't Just For Birthdays

American Flag.

A northern Illinois food pantry is honoring veterans in a different way this year.

The Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry is holding a drive-thru celebration on Nov. 11 -- Veterans Day.  

Becky Dunnigan is the community outreach and program coordinator at the pantry. She said several artists have pitched in to enhance the experience.  

“We have seven pieces of plywood that are four-by-eight; we have them primed. And we put the word out for artists, for them to basically use their imagination," Dunnigan explained. "But we would like patriotic themed artwork done that also respects the veterans that are going to be coming through.”  

The holiday celebration is designed to help veterans who are in need of food. The pantry normally does an inside celebration, but COVID-19 is preventing that. Dunnigan explained that veterans must show a military ID before they receive a food box and instead of the usual celebratory cake, they will receive a wrapped cupcake. She said representatives from all the armed forces will be there. The Veterans Day Pantry runs from 10 a.m. to noon. The artists’ works can be found on the pantry’s Facebook page sometime before the holiday. 

  • Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.