Steve Moore, left, the owner of Screw City Tavern, and Pete Gwizdala, president of the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, present a $2,000 check to Milly Smith and Jen Fausett of Christmas for Kids. (Photo by Kevin Haas/Rock River Current)
By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — A group of local bar and restaurant owners has donated a total $25,000 to eight charitable organizations that serve the Rockford area.

Members of the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association Chapter No. 59 presented the checks Thursday night during a get-together at Forest Hills Country Club.

The donation comes after one of the most challenging years for bar owners in history, when many were shut down because of precautions meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“They got hit harder than anybody during this pandemic,” Loves Park Mayor Greg Jury said. “I just think it’s outstanding that these people put their money where their mouth is and said we’re going to donate back. We’re going to give back to the community.”

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Jury attended the event because he also serves on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Rockford and the Loves Park Lions Club, two beneficiaries of the donations.

“They’re great community people, great business people and they’re really passionate about these things,” Jury said.

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The Illinois Licensed Beverage Association Chapter No. 59 presents a $5,000 check to Blue 815, an organization that works to provide education around law enforcement. (Photo by Kevin Haas/Rock River Current)
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The association raises money for the donation through its annual golf outing and other fundraisers. Last year, the organization gave $10,000 to local charities and more than doubled that this year.

“In light of last year with all the COVID restrictions and that, we feel very blessed that we’re able to do that,” said Luke Meyer, the former owner of Rascals Bar & Grill who serves as secretary and treasurer for the beverage association. “The business owners have struggled a lot last year with the unknown and all that kind of stuff, and it’s really nice that we’re able to do that.”

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Donation breakdown

Boys & Girls Club of Rockford: $5,000

Veterans Drop-in Center: $3,000

Rock House Kids: $3,000

Easterseals Academy: $3,000

Children’s Home & Aid: $3,000

Christmas for Kids: $2,000

Lions Club: $1,000

Blue 815: $5,000

This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at or follow him on Twitter at @KevinMHaas.

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