Dulcenia Weaver finished filling a plastic bag with nonperishable foods and paused to take a breath. She'd been busy filling several of the bags.
"I'm so glad I'm able to do this kind of work at my age," said Weaver, who is 80. Then she nodded at two rows of grocery sacks she helped prepare one morning recently.
"I'm lucky I'm able to help people who can't get out or don't have cars anymore. It makes me feel good," she said. That good feeling was echoed by Maralee Lindley, director of the Illino is Department on Aging, who recently recognized Weaver and 72 other women over age 75 statewide for their long traditions of community leadership. Each woman received a letter of commendation and a certificate last month at Springfield, naming them Women's History Month honorees. Weaver, of Hardin, was nominated for the honor by others with whom she does volunteer work. In announcing the honorees, Lindley said, "Although the contributions of these outstanding women vary, their gifts are similar in that they truly make a difference for real people in cities and towns across Illinois." For the past five years, Weaver has spent at least one day a week bagging and delivering groceries throughout Calhoun County for needy clients of the Lutheran Children and Family Services. A widow since 1990 when her husband, Paul, died, Weaver said she started volunteering her time after his death to stay active. "I'm not a person to sit and look at four walls," said Weaver, who is the mother of six, grandmother of 13 and great-grandmother of 13 children. "I'd rather be outside doing things than staying at home." When she's not helping others, Weaver said, her favorite pastime is helping herself to a few catfish or bass from the nearby Illinois River. …