Jonamac Orchard raises $2,000 for local charity serving caretakers during COVID-19 crisis

MALTA – Even with strict limitations in place, Jonamac Orchard still sold 400 dozen donuts and donated $2,000 to Taking Care of Our Caretakers, a local charity started to provide meals and support to frontline workers in DeKalb County during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After announcing the fundraiser the previous week, the orchard sold out in six hours on May 2, said one of the owners, Jenna Spychal.

“We wanted to help out our community and we really liked what Taking Care of Our Caretakers are doing,” Spychal said. “We think it’s wonderful they’re not only supporting local economies by purchasing meals from local restaurants, but then using those meals to feed the front lines and other caretakers. We wanted to do our part to donate to the cause.”

Pickup for the fundraiser took place May 2 at the orchard, with employees operating a drive-thru line for the pre-orders on cider, wine and donuts. Orders were staggered through the day until 2 p.m. to prevent overcrowding. Representatives from Taking Care of Our Caretakers also were on hand to help.

“It’s been great,” said Melissa Butts, one of the people who started the charity back in March. “They wanted to do it slowly. Some of the other apple orchards had done similar things and it caused a strain on the police department for traffic and stuff. So they were great about making sure there were only so many per hour so we didn’t have to have county police out here or things along those lines.”

The organization has raised more than $28,000 through its GoFundMe page so far. According to the page the group has already distributed $26,000 worth of meals to health care workers.

On April 30, the group gifted Visiting Angels with cookies from Cindy’s Cookie Creations, as well as bringing Starbucks and Elleson’s Bakery for the Cortland Police Department and Northern Illinois University bus drivers. The group also dropped off treats from The Confectionery at Walmart.

Brenda Jurgens, who lives in Malta and helps with Taking Care of Our Caretakers, said the fundraiser fits right in with the organization’s goals of both supporting local businesses and helping front-line workers and caretakers.

“I gave Jonamac a call to see if they wanted to do this and they signed right up,” Jurgens said. “They had already been thinking about it so it worked out wonderful. It’s a great opportunity for them to get a little bit of business and a great opportunity to help us in our mission to take care of our caretakers.”

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