Les Hahn, George Colahan, and Steve Whitehead are all volunteers with the Community Hope Center in Cottage Hills. They were more than happy to receive one of the five donations of food from the SEF Food Drive on Friday.

ALTON – Simmons Hanly Conroy employees collected 27,378 pounds of food during its 11th Annual Simmons Employee Foundation (SEF) Food Drive and donated it to five area food pantries on Friday.

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“We strongly believe in supporting the communities we call home,” said John Simmons, Simmons Hanly Conroy Chairman. “The SEF food drive is just one of the many ways our employees are able to make a difference in people’s lives beyond the courtroom. We hope our neighbors in need and their families are able to eat well this holiday season.”

From Oct. 6 to Nov. 17, employees paid to participate in several interoffice activities – including raffles, Fan Day Fridays, and a Halloween costume contest – to help raise the money needed to purchase food, which amounted to a little more than 5,000 pounds per pantry.

Warehouse Director Les Hahn, who has been a volunteer for five years, gives a tour of the center's food pantry. He said the firm's donation of food will help them easily get through the holidays and ensure area families have the food they need.

The five food pantries that benefitted from the SEF food drive included the Crisis Food Center and the Salvation Army in Alton, the Community Hope Center in Cottage Hills, the Collinsville Area Ministerial Association’s Helping Hands Food Pantry in Collinsville, and the Community Care Center in Granite City.

“We are so fortunate that businesses like Simmons Hanly Conroy understand the importance of caring for our neighbors,” said Community Hope Center Executive Director Paul Militzer. “Their generosity, like so many others we rely on for donations, is invaluable not only to us but to everyone we serve.”

For close to 30 years, the Community Hope Center has provided a food pantry to residents in the area. Open four days a week, their food pantry serves 60-105 families per day, some traveling from as far as nine counties away so they can feed their families.

“It takes approximately 50 volunteers to keep us running every day,” Militzer said. “It takes an incredible amount of passion to commit so much of your time to others. I’m very lucky to be able to work alongside them.”

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When families visit the center, they each receive a pre-sorted box like the ones above, full of essentials to get them through the week.

In addition to a food pantry, Community Hope Center also offers a soup kitchen Monday through Wednesday, occasional haircuts, household items, toiletry items, Easter baskets for children, and on-site doctor visits – all offered at no cost. One of the center’s larger service projects is making Christmas a little merrier for 500 area children every year – but this year they’re going to need more help to make that happen.

“Due to a mix-up in coordination, the primary organization that helps us purchase toys for all those children cannot help this year,” Militzer said. “It’s going to be more difficult to reach our goal this year, but I have faith that our community will rally and we can make it happen.”

For close to 10 years, SEF has made a monetary donation to help Community Hope Center purchase Christmas presents for area children. This year, as the foundation once again follows this tradition, it hopes other local businesses will join them in supporting such an important cause.

To make a donation, contact the Community Hope Center at (618) 259-0959 and ask for Ann. To volunteer your time with any of the services the center offers, ask for Sherry when you call. For more information, visit https://communityhopecenteril.org/.

Learn more about how the Simmons Employee Foundation gives back.

About the Simmons Employee Foundation
In late 2004, the employees of Simmons Hanly Conroy came together to create a single, streamlined way for them to give back to the communities they are so proud to call home. As a result of their creativity and heartfelt commitment, the Simmons Employee Foundation (SEF) has provided over $1 million of financial support and countless volunteer hours to charitable organizations.

About Simmons Hanly Conroy, LLC

Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC is one of the nation’s largest mass tort law firms. Primary areas of litigation include asbestos and mesothelioma, pharmaceutical, consumer protection, environmental and personal injury. The firm’s attorneys have been appointed to leadership in numerous national multidistrict litigations, including Vioxx, Yaz and Toyota Unintended Acceleration. Offices are located in Alton, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and St. Louis. Read more at www.simmonsfirm.com.

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