For Evergreen Park teen, helping others is on Thanksgiving menu
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent November 16, 2012 11:50AM
Evergreen Park HS student Monica Falconer is involved in several community service activities, including walks for the hungry and feeding the hungry on Thanksgiving. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 20, 2012 6:01AM
Just like the past two years, Monica Falconer on Thursday will be sharing Thanksgiving dinner with hundreds of people.
It isn’t her dining room table that is so big; it’s her heart.
Falconer, a senior at Evergreen Park Community High School, will be serving Thanksgiving dinners to those less fortunate for the third straight year.
Community service has come naturally to Falconer since she became involved with Chicago-based National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc., a professional organization dedicated to helping America’s youth deal with today’s problems.
Through her involvement, Falconer feeds the homeless at Hartzell Memorial United Methodist Church and Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, both in Chicago.
“All the food is prepared. We fix plates and serve the food. We will also distribute food to people in their homes that can’t get out,” Falconer said. “I like being able to help any way I can and this is something great that I can do. People who can’t cook for themselves or who don’t have a family or the environment for a traditional Thanksgiving can come in here and we can give them one.”
If Falconer weren’t serving Thanksgiving dinners, she’d be at home helping her mother in the kitchen. Instead, she will help those in need in the morning, then return home for Thanksgiving dinner with her family.
“My family will come all together and appreciate the things in life we have because others aren’t as blessed,” said Falconer, 18, the daughter of Deborah and Arnold Falconer, of Evergreen Park.
In October, Falconer participated in Church World Service’s CROP Hunger Walk. It was the second time she did the walk to raise money to fight hunger.
“I enjoy the feeling knowing that I’m raising money for a good cause. I feel that some of the less fortunate should be able to have something,” she said.
She also participates in Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church’s annual walk through Chicago’s neighborhoods to raise funds in the “Three Causes, One Walk” Walk-A-Thon for Breast Cancer, HIV/AIDS & Domestic Violence.
Inspiring her are her brothers, Nicholas, 22, and Christopher, 24.
“When my parents aren’t around or I need some help, I can go to them and they will help me. They are really supportive. They will help me with whatever I need help with and they’ve always been there for me,” Falconer said.
She also has played sports throughout high school and is captain of the basketball team.
Next year, the honor roll student would like to attend Loyola University or Olivet Nazarene University and major in forensic science.
“I enjoy watching ‘CSI’ and other crime shows on TV. I like figuring out the pieces to the puzzle and solving a mystery, so I would like to be a crime scene analyst,” she said.
Next semester, she will take a forensic science class at school, knowing it can only help.
“I am a very determined person, so it is my personality to be focused,” she said. “My parents are always telling me to be focused and know my goals.”