Original article shared from the Oak Forest Patch, author Melanie Gangolf

Oak Forest Rotary Club Honors Dylan Gluszek for His Food Drive

Dylan Gluszek has collected 4200+ lbs of food for local pantries and is going strong. The Oak Forest Rotary Club honored him for his effort.

By Melanie Gangolf | 
This post was contributed by a community member.
Oak Forest Rotary Club Honors Dylan Gluszek for His Food Drive


Pictured L to R is Dylan Gluszek, his mother, Dawn and sister Brooke.

Dylan Gluszek is just your everyday normal high school kid except he has an extraordinary desire to help people around him. Dylan credits his desire to help because he is able to put himself in their shoes. Dylan considers himself lucky, having a nice warm house and a full belly, but times were tough for his family in the past. "There were times when we needed the pantry to make ends meet," he tells an audience at Beggars Pizza organized by the Oak Forest Rotary Club in his honor. "I grew up with the mind set to always help others because they were there for me."

Dylan is talking about his successful food drive that started last year and has grown by leaps and bounds. It all started because he loves to decorate his house for Christmas and would put up a nice display. It occurred to him one day that people were actually driving past his home to view the lights. "As long as people were coming by," I thought, "I might as well do something." He put out a tote with a sign in front of his house. The sign was asking for food donations for the local food pantry. He had no idea how fast this would grow.

Last year, he received and donated over 1000 lbs of food to St. Christopher Pantry in Midlothian as well as others. He decided this year, he would double his efforts and hopefully his donation. His goal was to double last years and collect 2000 lbs. The community of Midlothian and Oak Forest has rallied around Dylan and as of last count, he has collected 4200 lbs of food with a goal of 5000 lbs by December 31st. He has already donated hundreds of pounds to local pantries and shelters. He has a facebook page where he keeps everyone updated on his efforts

He has already been featured on NBC and ABC for his generous and wonderful endeavor. He is quick to thank his mother for her help with all of this and for his empathetic nature. "We have always been a family who has helped others," Dylan explained. His sister Brooke has collected socks for the homeless through collections and fund raisers also so it truly seems that this is a family effort.

With this past year of donations, collections and all around good cheer from the community, Dylan is looking to the future. He is collaborating with a few different organizations to begin making food and care bags that he will drop off to homeless people. The care bags would consist of personal hygiene products that are always in need for the homeless, not to mention next years food drive. 

The Rotary Club of Oak Forest is so proud of Dylan since they have a special connection with him. He is a Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) alumni. These programs include camps, workshops, or seminars that provide an effective training experience for youth participants to develop their leadership, communication, and team-building skills. When Dylan started his food drive, he reached out to Jody Redmann, president of the Oak Forest Rotary Club who jumped on board. 

Jody not only donated to the cause but sponsored his campaign with advertising and anything else the Rotary could do. She could not be prouder of a Rotary youth leader and was delighted to have Dylan come and speak to the membership at Beggar's Pizza at their December meeting. The Rotary Club is a big proponent of youth leadership and developing up and coming leaders in our community. 

Dylan's food drive and holiday light show is still open for donations. It you would like to donate or see his display, he is located at 3939 W. 147th Pl, Midlothian. Stop by, say hi, and drop off a few cans of food. What better way to spend some time before Christmas.