When Don Bruss, Carl Berg and Paul Zavagno walked into West Deerfield Township Supervisor Julie Morrison’s office 10 years ago little did the four of them know that meeting would fill half the township’s food pantry for a year.
The three Deerfield men got the idea while out for a run together 10 years ago. They also got an education and became solid supporters of Morrison, now seeking a seat in the Illinois state Senate to replace the retiring state Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest).
“If you are out running for a long time you keep talking,” Bruss said of the day he Berg and Zavagno came up with the idea that became Three Guys and a Truck. “The longer we ran the hungrier we got. We wanted to use running to benefit people.”
Bruss, Berg and Zavagno recounted the story at an ice cream social Sunday they organized to help Morrison’s campaign. They wanted to pay her back for her effort helping to feed those in need in Deerfield.
The three men went to see Morrison after that run 10 years ago. They suggested they run around the Deerfield High School track for 24 hours and see how much food people would donate. Morrison liked the idea and gave it her support.
“We get six months of food for the pantry,” Morrison said. “Some has also gone to North Chicago and Highland Park (Moraine Township) some of the time.
The idea is to fill a large truck with as much food as possible while the three men and other volunteers run around the track. “We walk and run,” Bruss said. One way or the other they kept going for 24 hours in the beginning.
Now the event lasts eight hours and Bruss, Berg and Zavagno keep walking or running the entire time. They could still circle the oval for a full day but others are not so hearty. “We did it for the volunteers,” Morrison said of the shortened time.
Though the people run or walk less, the amount food collected has not been diminished according to Morrison. Bruss, Berg and Zavagno give Morrison the credit.
“Julie (Morrison) is the organizer,” Bruss said. “She does all the hard work to make the event happen.”
Bruss, Berg and Zavagno also learned things they did not know about their community. “There is now a real awareness of people in Deerfield who use the pantry,” Bruss said. “This was a big education for us.”
At Sunday’s campaign event, more than 40 people enjoyed cake and ice cream while getting to know Morrison a little better.
“This is our grass roots effort to let the community get to know Julie (Morrison) better,” Zavagno said. “She has continued to give to the community with integrity.”
Mary Neubaum of Lake Forest has been a strong supporter of Garrett for 12 years and wanted to get to know Morrison. She was impressed Garrett had endorsed Morrison but had to see for herself.
“She (Garrett) shares my concern for the downtrodden who need help,” Neubaum said. “She (Garrett) wants us to support Morrison but I have to know for myself. I want to know her (Morrison’s) commitment is there.”