Pam Bolen (left), one of the owners of Millie's Toffee and Treats in Plano, performs another 'Random Act of Candy' as she gives a gift of candy to the staff, including volunteer Julie Reardon Walker and executive director Melisa Taylor of the Between Friends Food Pantry in Sugar Grove on Thursday, January 24, 2013. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 1, 2013 6:25AM
And the winners were ... a volunteer at the Sugar Grove Food Pantry and several other people doing good deeds around the Fox Valley.
Ernie Bolen, owner of Mamie’s Toffee & Treats in Plano, invited people to nominate deserving local residents this month to receive one of his Random Acts of Kindness — a gift basket of goodies to award them for their service in the community.
Bolen launched his plan to give candy to good people last year. At the time, he said he had gone through a particularly rough time in his life, and after struggling to find his calling he felt it important to give back.
His Internet-based business makes peanut brittle, tiger butter and a long list of sweet delights. During the summer months he can be found at local farmers markets but the treats can be ordered anytime at mamiestoffee.com.
First place in the latest round of Random Acts of Kindness was awarded to Julie Reardon Walker who volunteers at the Sugar Grove Food Pantry organizing senior luncheons. In nominating Walker, Marguerite Butara Ledone said, “Julie does so much for everyone in Sugar Grove.”
The nominations all were made on Facebook and many people were unaware that their friends had nominated them.
Walker and the other winners were presented with their gifts this week, and many were surprised.
“They said they felt appreciated,” after being told why Bolen and his family were giving them candy.
Other winners from the Martin Luther King holiday contest were the volunteers at the DuPage Township Food Bank in Romeoville; Michele Bell from KinderCare in Oswego; Lance Poelman, a volunteer in Oswego; Cathie Thompson from Batavia; and Mayme Heyne, a 92-year-old Aurora resident who visits a friend at Jennings Terrace every week.
The campaign to give something to those who go the extra mile is a family event for Bolen. He and his wife along with their two children make the deliveries.
“It’s our way of teaching them to give back to others, the community who gave so much to us. It helps them see people do good things,” Bolen said.