Juneteenth Illinois: 1K families get much needed help in Aurora

When is Juneteenth? Holiday celebrated June 19
AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- More than 150 Black fraternity and sorority members are using Juneteenth to do some good in Aurora, and it comes at a desperate time for so many people.

A line of cars could be seen Friday morning of 1,000 families getting essentials they need as inflation surges nationwide.

A celebration and a service: That's the effort underway in Aurora Friday to celebrate Juneteenth.

The Aurora Divine 9 Alliance brings together alumni from Black fraternities and sororities to partner with the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

RELATED: Juneteenth 2022: Celebrate holiday this weekend with Chicago Black-owned businesses

"Our families who are struggling have been on a horrific rollercoaster ride. Now we have inflation," NI Food bank President Julie Yurko said.

The Northern Illinois Food Bank is currently serving over 440,000 people in the suburbs of Chicago.

On Friday, more families are getting different fruits, proteins and other essentials.

"Cost of groceries, gas, everything has gone up -- a lot of people can't afford a lot of groceries," one person in line said.
Every little bit helps at a time like this. That's why some people got in line as early as 3:30 a.m., and some were even surprised with a $50 gas card.

RELATED: ABC7 commemorates Juneteenth with 'Our Chicago: Freedom Day' special

That sense of community makes such a difference for these families.

"I'm a single mother, and I go check by check. And having these events actually really help me to support my kid and feed him," said Cassie, who was receiving food.

And the men and women volunteering their time said this is what should be done every day and especially on Juneteenth.

"It's extremely gratifying. This is a day I'd never miss; this is about community. It's about giving back and helping people who need help," said Joe Grisson, a volunteer from Kappa Alpha Psi.

The Juneteenth celebrations will continue in Aurora this weekend with a Juneteenth flag raising ceremony on Sunday afternoon downtown.
Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.