by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The United Methodist Church in Sugar Grove boasts a “clown ministry” that pools a portion of its earnings each year to provide clown-training scholarships for people in the community.
This year, the clown ministry also wants to provide a slightly different kind of service: putting food on the table for needy families in the area.
“Our goal every year is to fund the Sweetheart Scholarship, which provides training for Christian clowns,” said Karen McCannon, also known as JoJo the Clown. “And this year, we’ll be giving a $500 check to the Sugar Grove Between Friends Food Pantry.”
The Sweetheart Scholarship is named after former ministry member Terri King, who was also known as Sweetheart the Clown.
The current clown ministry, which consists of Jojo, Calico Rose, Tiny T. and Mr. Mumbles, is typically active within the Sugar Grove community, hosting the 4th of July Bike Parade, participating in the Corn Boil and helping with the Fire Department’s open house. The ministry also appears at the farmer’s market during the first Saturday of every month.
“Our group makes a buck or two every so often, and we have a small bit of celebrity in the area, so we thought we’d use that celebrity to encourage people to donate to the food pantry,” McCannon said. “The (Between Friends) Food Pantry started out providing for, I think, 11 families, and now that number is up to about 130 families, and we want to make people aware of just how much help the food pantry needs.”
McCannon said the ministry does not currently plan to dress up for any events related to the Between Friends Food Pantry, but the four members are open to doing an appearance if the opportunity presents itself.
“We don’t usually do anything in the winter, and it takes an awful long time to get dressed up and put on our makeup. But the food pantry supports the entire Kaneland area, and we’d like to support the food pantry,” she said. “We might be open to doing an event (for the food pantry) in the springtime.”