From WNIJ reporter Connie Kuntz: Hospitals, nursing homes, and doctors’ offices take care of us and our loved ones, but who is taking care of them?
Melissa Butts has one answer. She is the co-chair of the grassroots organization Taking Care of Our Caretakers – DeKalb County.
TCOCDKC has provided meals, treats, and random acts of kindess throughout the community since March. Butts says many people are involved and though she is humbled by the response, she is not surprised.
“Growing up here, I know what the community can do when it pulls together,” Butts said, “and I’ve never been more ‘proudly DeKalb’ in my life.”
Butts talked about the impact her organization has made in less than two months.
“We have fed 5,300 meals or treats. We have raised $28,350.” She added, “We’ve already spent $26,000 of that, which is awesome — it just went back into the community.” Butts says they have supported 40 restaurants and bakeries and that all of them are in DeKalb County.
Butts says after they raise funds from the community, they take that money and buy meals from local restaurants like The Lincoln Inn. Then they bring those meals to the caretakers.
“We have taken meals to Kishwaukee Community Hospital, DaVita Dialysis, Physicians Immediate Care, Pine Acres, Oak Crest — all of the nursing homes — Kindred Hospital in Sycamore; anyone who is on the medical side of the front lines of dealing with the pandemic.”
Butts said the generosity extends beyond doctors and nurses. They also provide for gas station attendants, grocery store employees, pharmacists, and more. Furthermore, Butts said, there are two new branches that stem from TCOCDKC; one in Batavia and one in Sauk Valley.
Looking ahead, Butts said as long as people continue to donate and support TCOCDKC, they will continue to provide for the community.
“The community caretakers deserve it and our restaurants need it.” She explained, “If we’re going to have any place to go after this shelter-in-place is lifted, we’ve got to figure out ways to support them through this right now.”
To learn more about Taking Care of Our Caretakers – DeKalb County, Butts said to join their Facebook group. She added, “We are 1100 strong and would love to have more.”