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Geneva flamingos help with food collection

GENEVA – Fanciful flamingos positioned around the Meadows Road neighborhood in Geneva lead the way to a food collection for the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

For the third year, Gunther and Brooke Lubben and their four children used flamingo decorations to draw attention to a charitable collection in December. 

The first year, in 2011, was for more than 1,200 paperback books to send to soldiers overseas. Last year, the collection was $2,400 in online donations to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief.

“We have collected 850 pounds of food ... but we’ll probably have more after we check the boxes tonight,” Gunther Lubben said. “It’s really fun to see a lot of the neighbors participating.

The donation boxes in front of his house at 733 Meadows Road, Geneva, will remain out for continuous giving through Tuesday, he said.

The flamingo part, he said, is like a seek-and-find or a Where’s Waldo – inviting the community to drive through the neighborhood and see whether they can spy a flamingo hidden in the regular Christmas decorations.

Participating households are in a 10-block area just south of the Geneva train station from Cheever Avenue to Fargo Boulevard, to Dunston Road to Route 31.

The flamingo count – currently at 54 – is posted by the collection boxes.

“We are drawing attention to a good cause and having a little fun while doing it,”  he said.

Donations requested by the Northern Illinois Food Bank, based in Geneva, will be for whole grain cereal, canned chicken and tuna, peanut butter, pasta, rice, dried beans, canned fruit and vegetables, soups and pasta sauce – but nothing in glass containers.

The food is stored in the Lubben’s foyer.

The food bank sends a truck to pick up the food each time the collection reaches 500 pounds, Lubben said.

Julie Yurko, vice president of philanthropy and communications for the food bank, said the organization was happy with the effort the Lubben family was making.

“Hunger is real, and families are suffering,” Yurko said. “We continue to see the hunger need grow, but at the same time, we see the best of human nature in our community – wonderful people like the Lubbens – who are willing to do this and make a difference. We are thrilled. We are just thrilled.” 

The Northern Illinois Food Bank is a nonprofit organization that supplies food to pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and youth and senior feeding programs that serve more than 60,000 people each week in 13 counties, including Kane. 

Information is available at

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