I recently retired from The Friendship Center Board after twenty-five years, and I have been reflecting upon all that evolved during that time. Much changed, but much did not. The food pantry operated from five different locations; there were six different directors; there must have been at least sixty Board members; and we added a hot meal program, homebound delivery program, and a pet food pantry. What never changed was the amazing dedication of the directors, employees, volunteers, board members, and donors. Their compassion, vision, and hard work are what made The Friendship Center so special and impactful. Sadly, what also never changed was the compelling need for the services The Friendship Center provides. Even in the best of economic times, many still live on the edge for a variety of reasons. And recessions, government policy changes, pandemics, and inflation only exacerbate food insecurity. Fortunately, the Board, executive leadership, and financial supporters have put The Friendship Center in the best position it has ever been in.
It has been an honor and rewarding to be a part of this history, and I plan to stay involved in other ways for as long as I can. Please continue to help those in need as The Friendship Center expands and improves its services to clients. Thanks to all of you.
About the author:
Ted Helwig has served on The Friendship Center board for 25 years. Now retired, he practiced law in Chicago for 40 years, the last three-plus decades at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and the first nine in the federal government as law clerk to a federal judge and then a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Ted served on the board of Legal Aid Chicago from 2004-2019. He and his wife, Dawn, are long-time members of North Park Covenant Church, which founded The Friendship Center food pantry in 1969.