By Ramona M. Sullivan
Pro Bono Week is a time each year for the ISBA to encourage volunteer efforts of our members and celebrate the good works that we do. While the primary mission of Pro Bono Week is to expand the delivery of legal services, Illinois lawyers help our communities in many other ways as well.
Under the leadership of President John Thies and the Lawyers Feeding Illinois Steering Committee, the ISBA is partnering with Illinois food banks and the Illinois Attorney General's office with the goal of Illinois lawyers providing one million meals to the hungry in Illinois in the next year.
Over 1.9 million people in Illinois do not have regular access to nutritious food. Fifteen percent of Illinois residents, including over twenty-three percent of Illinois children, are "food insecure." The ISBA hopes to help raise awareness of the year-round need for food donations and provide food for Illinois residents.
Participating lawyers, law firms, and bar associations will collect monetary donations and donations of non-perishable food. Participants in the campaign will compete for prizes and will be recognized for their efforts by the ISBA. All donations will be used by Illinois food banks and will be provided to the regional food bank where the donations are made. Information about regional food banks is available at http://feedingillinois.org.
Susan Zielke, the Managing Attorney of the Eastern Regional Office of Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance and a member of the Lawyers Feeding Illinois Steering Committee explains, "We are encouraging a friendly competition amongst Illinois lawyers, asking them to join their firm, local bar association, or group of friends to help feed Illinois families who struggle daily to meet their nutritional needs."
The website for the program is http://www.lawyersfeedingil.org/. Registration begins November 5, 2012 and the campaign will take place from February 18 - March 1, 2013.
Please consider participating in events to celebrate National Pro Bono Week. You can find event ideas at www.celebrateprobono.org, sponsored by the ABA. Please send your Pro Bono Week event details and photos to the ISBA, to share your ideas and promote your efforts on the ISBA website.
Ramona Sullivan is an attorney with Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. She is the past Chair of the ISBA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services and serves on the Standing Committee for Legal Education, Admission and Competence.