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Notable Neighbors: Susan Kilby and neighbors collect for VEAP

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Bloomington Briefing Published October 5, 2022
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Updated on November 2, 2022
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When Susan Kilby of Girard Park East Condominiums received a flyer from Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People about its desperate need for support, she mobilized the condo’s social committee.

“It was a very positive thing to do, especially when there are so many hardships and shortages in the world,” Kilby said.

With the support of a few friends and neighbors, Susan contacted VEAP and asked how they could contribute. VEAP sent them a list of much-needed items. They worked together to run a food donation drive and made it into a fun competition between the condominium residents. Together, they collected 1,264 pounds of items for VEAP. Kilby and her neighbors collected toilet paper, paper towels, toddler diapers and all sorts of nonperishable foods.

“Diapers for toddlers and birthday items were a surprise,” Kilby said. “They are things we never think of donating, but it made sense. People typically gift only newborn diapers. It was a lot of fun to buy birthday items and know it will help someone celebrate a birthday.”

An avid community volunteer, Kilby said her physical condition has made it difficult for her to stand for long periods of time volunteering in person. The donation drive allowed her to still participate as a volunteer in a capacity where she’s able to contribute.

“It wasn’t hard to rise to the occasion. It was rewarding to see our efforts unfold before our eyes as the contributions piled up,” Kilby said.

“It helps so many people. In the end, it really felt like we gained more than what we gave,” Darlene Solhein, chair of the condominium’s social committee, said.

Kilby and the social committee plan to have future collection drives but have not settled on an exact date yet. Solhein explained that people tend to give a lot during the holiday season, so they might wait until January when it’s past giving season and VEAP will need help to fill its shelves.

“We want to share our story in hopes that other condos and associations will do the same,” Kilby said. “The donation drive is such an easy thing to do and there is so much need for it.”