At 90, food pantry worker appreciates community support
At 90, Monica Tomaschek of River Grove stays active by walking her neighborhood and volunteering at the food pantry. | Maryann Pisano~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:03AM
If you are a River Grove resident, then you probably have seen Monica Tomaschek.
This feisty 90-year-old continues to walk her River Grove neighborhood for exercise, and she still volunteers at the River Grove food pantry.
“My husband and I used to donate food to families,” Tomaschek said. “When he passed away, I wanted to continue working for the community.”
She is passionate about working the food pantries because she feels it helps the community.
“It really gives me pleasure. It feels good to help people.”
Tomaschek encourages anyone who needs help to go to the food pantries. “It takes a lot of guts for men to admit they need our services, and it fills me with joy when people do seek our help,” she said.
So how does this 90-year-old find the energy to keep working?
“I still haven’t retired!” she said. “I walk around the neighborhood for exercise and energy. I can learn about people within the community and create new friendships. I have seen second and third generations within the neighborhood.”
Tomaschek has been a River Grove resident since 1953. She has two daughters, eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. When she first moved to River Grove, neither Triton College nor Winston Plaza was there.
Tomaschek said she has made incredible friendships throughout the years, although most of the people she knew in the 1950s have passed away.
“There are no strangers here in River Grove,” she said. “I love the people of River Grove! A lot of people have been extremely generous at our food pantry. They are very kind and giving.”
Tomaschek was born and raised in Chicago. She met her husband at a tavern and he asked her to dance. The rest is history.
Both of her daughters attended Rhodes School and East Leyden High School. Although they do not live in River Grove, she still gets to see them often. And of course, they support her work at the food pantry.
“My goal for the future would be for people to keep contributing to the pantry,” she said. “Myself, along with the community, appreciates it!”