Thursday, November 18, 2021  


CAIRO – Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza, her staff and other volunteers passed out 160 turkeys and hams as well as other donated food to Cairo residents at the Arrowleaf community center today. Laborers’ Local 773, which represents workers in fields such as construction and railroad maintenance, donated the meat and bags of food. Krispy Kreme in Marion also donated boxes of doughnuts.  

Alexander County, of which Cairo is the county seat, has the lowest vaccination rate of Illinois’ 102 counties, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. So among the offerings at this year’s giveaway were vaccine shots administered by the Southern Seven Health Department.  

“Residents throughout the state can greatly benefit from the protection these free COVID-19 vaccinations provide against severe disease,” Comptroller Mendoza said. “That’s why my office wanted to make sure the people of Cairo were given an additional opportunity to get vaccinated.”

This is the fifth year the Illinois Office of Comptroller has helped coordinate and distribute donations in Cairo so that in-need families can put a Thanksgiving meal on their dinner tables. The Office of Comptroller worked with Arrowleaf, a human-services nonprofit, to coordinate and host the donations. Arrowleaf also offered clothing and coat donations during the event. 

“I’m a strong believer in the people of Southern Illinois. While the region has its own unique challenges, I want its residents to know they are not alone,” said Comptroller Mendoza. “The whole state and I support regrowth and regeneration in Cairo and the surrounding region, which is a beautiful area that my family and I love to visit.” 

Comptroller Mendoza reiterated her promise to expedite payments for the development of Cairo’s new international port, expected to bring jobs and economic development to the region,’ noting, “Cairo needs more than one shot in the arm.” 

Comptroller Mendoza was joined at the donation event by State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, State Rep. Patrick Windhorst, R-Metropolis, and Cairo Mayor Thomas Simpson. 

“I’ve been vaccinated. It’s not only a personal choice but also a choice about protecting others, like your family,” said Mayor Simpson. 

Southern Illinois residents can call their local county health departments to schedule a free COVID-19 vaccination. People who are unsure of who to call can call the Southern Seven Health Department at 618-634-2297 for more information. 

“It’s a blessing to see these officials and groups come together to provide these meals. It’s wonderful that they are taking notice of Cairo and working to support its regrowth,” said Mayor Simpson. 

Comptroller Mendoza also dropped off food donations at the Cairo Women’s Shelter for survivors of domestic abuse and their children in Cairo this morning. On Wednesday, she met with the founders of The Giving Tree Fund in Sesser, a charity that coordinates donations of Christmas gifts and necessities for area youth and their families. 

“During the holidays, it’s an especially great time to make note of the charitable nature of so many of our neighbors and fellow Illinois residents. I’m honored to be able to meet with and support the efforts of those working to better their communities,” said Comptroller Mendoza.