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ShareFest Campaign Spreads Its Wings: Welcomes Will County in 2013

The popular New Lenox-based volunteer initiative, ShareFest, is broadening its scope and reaching out to help all of Will County.

The annual ShareFest volunteer campaign to meet the "deep" needs of the community has grown steadily every year since it was first launched in 2007.

Last year's success with 10 different community outreach aspects worked to stoke the fires of an effort that has captured the dedication of individuals, volunteers, civic groups, the village, county agencies, youth, churches and businesses.  

Gary Cheney, ShareFest director and spokesperson, said he plans to unveil the details of the new and improved ShareFest 2013 Will County campaign at this year's first ShareFest committee meeting from noon-1 p.m. Jan. 29 at 1 Veterans Drive.

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On the heels of New Lenox being awarded the Governors Home Town Award for ShareFest, Cheney said it's time to spread the benefits of the lessons learned in coordinating an effective program. He'll be working closely with Joliet church groups to identify the areas that ShareFest can best impact.

Since at its core ShareFest is a faith-based initiative, Cheney is expected to introduce the campaign, its mission and how it works at the annual meeting of pastors and men's ministry participants at the Unity Breakfast, 8-10 a.m., Feb. 2, at the Holiday Inn Conference Center, 411 S. Larkin Ave., Joliet.

 There, he'll invite groups to appoint a representative to the committee to help in the planning.

"We're looking for people who want to make a difference on the committee." He extends that same invitation to anyone in New Lenox or surrounding communities who are interested in enhancing the program as it stands. ShareFest has a history of change. "We've gone from one day (of shared giving) to three days to 11 days. This year we want a 30-day event," he said.

What keeps ShareFest thriving is a philosophy that embraces fresh and creative ideas. It's not fixed campaign, he said. Like a vine that climbs and gently wraps around a trellis, ShareFest responds to the community's needs and desires. It's collaborative by nature and accepts with open arms the enthusiasm of volunteers who want to add his or her unique gifts.

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 ShareFest's Household Hazardous Waste Gains Will County Support

Already, Cheney said, he's received support from the Will County Land Use Department, Resource Recovery and Energy. Click here for the latest updates at the Will County Green website.  Because the Household Hazardous Waste collection was so popular, the county land use department has renewed its commitment to support the initiative. Last year, they provided $22,500 and New Lenox Township stepped up to the plate with $7,500 to cover the $30,000 event.

The county asked ShareFest to work toward achieving a degree of revenue sharing, seeking opportunities to help off-set the cost of the hazardous waste collection, said Cheney. Already, he has appeared before the Jan. 14 New Lenox Township board to seek their assistance.

The township has always been positive and supportive, he said. "I think they like being a part of this."

The waste collection provides a good service to people from all over the region, according to Cheney. "Last year, a total of 601 vehicles from 639 household dropped off 46,429 pounds of household hazardous waste."  

Over the last three years, a total of 122,232 pounds of hazardous waste has been collected.

See the list of ShareFest 2012 outcomes in the PDF attached to this story.

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Born Here January 24, 2013 at 03:28 PM
It is really nice to read a heart warming story for a change. Keep up the good work Gary!

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