30th Annual Ceremony Recognizes Community Volunteers; F.R.E.S.H. Teaching Garden Takes Governor’s Cup
SPRINGFIELD – November 29, 2012. The 30th annual Governor’s Hometown Awards were given to 30 outstanding volunteer groups from across the state during a ceremony at the Executive Mansion in Springfield today. The awards recognize volunteers for their work in improving their communities.
Foods Raised at East Side Health (F.R.E.S.H.) Community Teaching Garden was selected as the 2012 Governor’s Cup award winner. The Governor’s Cup is a traveling silver trophy presented to the group whose efforts are deemed most representative of the spirit of Illinois volunteerism.
“The Governor’s Home Town Awards honor the efforts of 30 remarkable groups who have selflessly dedicated their time and efforts to making their communities a better place to live,” Governor Quinn said. “We applaud these groups of volunteers for improving the lives of others and truly making a difference in our state.”
F.R.E.S.H. Community Teaching Garden serves East St. Louis, a city that struggles with food deserts which leave residents with few options for accessing healthy foods. In a twist on the old adage, rather than just giving away healthy food, F.R.E.S.H teaches residents how to grow their own food. The group’s garden, which sits on the site of an abandoned parking lot, empowers residents to fill in the gaps in their groceries with healthy fruits and vegetables, planting the seeds of community sustainability.
The Governor’s Home Town Award recipients are selected by volunteer judges who review and rank applications based on a variety of factors, including local need, volunteer participation, use of resources and the results achieved. The projects are judged within their population categories as well as within their assigned project categories. The project categories include services and mentorship, beautification and sustainability, parks and recreation, memorials and monuments and history and historic preservation. The judges then select one project from each population category to compete for the coveted Governor’s Cup.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) administers the Governor’s Home Town Awards Program. Each winning group receives a road sign for its community and plaque recognizing its efforts. The Governor’s Cup winner receives the traveling trophy and a unique road sign that proclaims its status as the overall winner.
The 30 winning projects represent the work of nearly 8,500 volunteers who devoted more than 205,000 hours of their time. Nearly $4.7 million in donated materials or in-kind services were provided and almost $7.1 million in private funds were raised for these projects. A complete list of all of the winners is attached.