The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

December 22, 2013

Partners add to education

Local businesses help kids from behind the scenes


The good deeds haven’t gone unnoticed.

“The kids made me some cards. It was heart touching,” Jackson said.

“They’re really good guys,” Spesard said. “We’re blessed to have them.”

The coat donations from Jackson, Smith and the anonymous business owner are just a couple of the random acts of kindness that have benefited various schools in the Danville district.

Many local businesses participate in District 118’s Partners in Education.

“We have ongoing relationships with many local businesses. Every school has a partner,” said Greg Lazzell, the district’s food service director who oversees Partners in Education.

“We’re not looking for them to only give us things or to donate. Some places don’t donate material things. Sometimes we just have employees at businesses donate their time. We have lots of businesses that do that,” he said. “We’re not looking for physical goods. We’re looking for mentoring or time spent reading to the children.

“We don’t want to bombard the businesses,” he said. “Often times they reach out to us, like Better Better Detailers.

“Jocko’s is one of the longest running partnerships,” Lazzell said, guessing that it’s been close to 25 years.

Every year, Jocko’s Pizza provides a ham and bagged fruit for each of the Christmas food baskets that are prepared for about a dozen of Edison Elementary School’s neediest families.

In Edison’s basement on Wednesday, teachers, Danville firefighters and some of Jocko’s employees formed an assembly line and quickly went to work filling large boxes with food and other items for this year’s 14 families.

“Edison does a canned food drive, the staff donates money and they buy perishables and toiletries, and Jocko’s donates the hams,” Lazzell said.

The food baskets are a more than 20-year tradition at the school, with the grade level that collects the most canned goods receiving a pizza party from Jocko’s. The second-graders won the pizza party this year.

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