Dayenu ministries lunch for first responders, health workers “represent the world to us”

Just weeks away from our National Thanksgiving Day, Dayenu Ministries hosted an Appreciation Luncheon on Saturday, November 6 at the Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 N. McCormick Blvd., for firefighters, police, nurses and other workers in health.

Evanston Deputy Police Chief Melissa Sacluti and Staff Sgt Jeff Faison were among the first responders who attended the event.

Deputy Chief of Police Melissa Sacluti (right) and Sgt. Jeff Faison is greeted by Darryl and Rebecca Cheeks. (Photo by Heidi Randhava) Credit: Photo by Heidi Randhava

“We feel good every time the community comes to support us and does something very specific just for us,” Deputy Chief Sacluti told a Roundtable reporter. “Having any kind of community support now means the world to us. “

Evanston Fire Captain Deron Daugherty said he was among those “who were lucky enough to come to the eco center and be offered lunch.”

Making an impact on the lives of others is at the heart of the mission of Dayenu Ministries, the nonprofit organization co-founded by Darryl Cheeks and his wife, Rebecca Cheeks. In addition to first responders, the organization serves hospitalized children, abused women and their children, the homeless, veterans, the elderly and incarcerated people.

Service is a way of life for third generation Evanstonians Darryl and Rebecca Cheeks. The founding of Dayenu (dai-YAY-nu) ministries is a continuation of their lifelong commitment to volunteerism and fraternity.

Evanston Firefighters took the time to enjoy an appreciation lunch for first responders on Saturday, November 6 at the Evanston Ecology Center. (Photo by Heidi Randhava) Credit: Photo by Heidi Randhava

“To our firefighters, our paramedics. At our police, we can’t do it without you. We have to say ‘Thank you’ for what you are doing, ”Darryl Cheeks said in his remarks at the Appreciation Lunch.

He also shared his experiences of the past few years as a patient who relies on the courage and strength of dedicated nurses “who care for us in our deepest parts of life – finding ways to encourage us to. 4 am “

“You are the one saving lives,” he said, speaking directly to nurses providing medical care at Rush University Medical Center, many of whom attended the lunch.

Darryl Cheeks hasn’t toned down the challenges of living with severe scleromyxedema since 2014, but he remains focused on what he and his wife can accomplish. In his remarks, he explained how his professional and spiritual lives have provided him with a solid foundation as he navigates all the “turns and turns” that present themselves.

“The road has been difficult and long. But I’m still here, and it’s a huge blessing. I can’t thank you enough for what you have given us, ”Darryl Cheeks told his nurses, adding,“ I like to see you and I don’t like to see you, ”eliciting laughter from the group.

Darryl (seated) and Rebecca Cheeks (third from left) are surrounded by nurses who look after Darryl at Rush University Medical Center. (Photo by Heidi Randhava) Credit: Photo by Heidi Randhava

He presented plaques to the nurses on the 10th and 14th floors who care for him in Rush.

“We all experience fatigue and emotional exhaustion, but when you see a patient arrive with a smile on your face, it gives us support,” said Rush nurse Eunice Reed.

Darryl Cheeks’ career began after graduating from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He obtained his Certified Public Accountancy license and worked for Fortune 500 companies including Arthur Andersen, Abbott Labs and Oracle.

After serving as CFO at Hoyt / Pentacom, he founded Chicagoland Barbecue and Chicagoland Foods Military Consortium (The Chicagoland Companies) – named one of the top 21 minority-owned companies in the United States. barbecue restaurants called Barbecue Blues. In 2001, he formed the global finance company Black Rhino Financial Group, providing financial services to small businesses.

Darryl’s service work includes many years of service on boards of directors, most recently for the ETHS Foundation and the University of Illinois Deans’ Affairs Council.

Nearly 50 first responders, firefighters, nurses and frontline workers enjoy a buffet lunch on Saturday, November 6, in recognition of their service. (Photo by Heidi Randhava) Credit: Photo by Heidi Randhava

His spiritual life encompasses over 30 years of ministry at Monroe Street Church of Christ on the West Side of Chicago, Waukegan Church of Christ, and Soul Food Prison Ministry, which he founded for serve incarcerated men and women.

He is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of Dayenu Ministries, where Rebecca Cheeks is Executive Director.

Rebecca Cheeks worked alongside her husband in all aspects of his ministry. She has also worked as the deputy head of the Kindergarten department of the Church of Christ in Monroe, as the coordinator of the congregation’s holiday Bible school and as an after-school tutor for the youth of the center. -City through a partnership between Chicago Public Schools and the Church.

Darryl and Rebecca’s four children, Gabe, Logan, Sebastian and Olivia Cheeks, are fourth generation Evanstonians. The couple’s story provides a glimpse into the indomitable spirit of an American family.

The home page of their Dayenu Ministries website says, “We are small, but we are motivated. We achieve this through the strength of our volunteers and our unwavering faith.

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