Barrington resident provides ‘Blessings in a Backpack’
Darby Hills (right) is president of Barrington Children’s Charities. The group, also including Claudia Gerrard (from left), Irma Molina-Bates and Susan Hyde run the local Blessings in a Backpack program to help those in need at District 220’s Sunny Hill Elementary School in Carpentersville. | Photo courtesy GRID: Neighbors profile
Updated: December 30, 2012 6:15AM
BARRINGTON — Barrington resident Darby Hills is president of Barrington Children’s Charities.
Two years ago, she and her husband, Tom Hills, the organization’s chairman, took the national Blessings in a Backpack program to District 220’s Sunny Hill Elementary School in Carpentersville.
The local effort provides backpacks full of food for children at the school on a weekly basis.
More then 95 percent of students at Sunny Hill are on the federal free or reduced lunch program.
Darby Hills, a former Cook County State’s Attorney, said she’s always had a passion for helping children and families. The cause set out to provide food for children to take home for weekends and holidays. The Darby’s now plan to take the program district-wide.
Q: How long have you lived in Barrington?
A: My husband and I moved here just over five years ago.
Q: Why did you pick this town?
A: My husband grew up here. We met in the city and decided to move back out here.
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I grew up in Cary.
Q: Tell us about your family.
A: We have three kids: a 2-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 7-year-old.
Q: What about Barrington makes you proud?
A: The fact that this is a very generous community and that so many people really want to give back. Lots of people have rallied toward our cause.
Q: What is your favorite community event?
A: Barrington Giving Day (an event every December that provides goods for needy families in the area). Barrington Children’s Charities is proud to have partnered with Barrington Giving Day. We’re both trying to provide necessities of life for children in the community.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant or entertainment venue in town?
A: I have two: Francesca’s and Barrington Country Bistro. My husband and I had our rehearsal dinner for our wedding at Barrington Country Bistro, so its sentimental. We go there every year on our anniversary.
Q: What has changed in Barrington since you moved here?
A: It seems like there are more families coming into Barrington from Chicago. Also, I’m amazed at how many people who grew up here end up coming back.
Q: What inspired you to become a State’s Attorney?
A: I always wanted to be an attorney. I always wanted to fight for the victim.
Q: What got you interested in children’s charities?
A: Our family has always had a great desire to help children. We wanted to give back and help the children in our area.
Q: What are your future goals?
A: Our goal is to continue to grow as a charity and to increase awareness of our mission: to address the social, emotional, education and physical needs of children in District 220.
Q: What is your proudest moment or greatest achievement?
A: There was a point last year when a woman with a newborn baby and she wanted to meet the people who provided her with food on Barrington Giving Day. She waited in the cold for four hours and she started tearing up when she met the people. We were able to personally help individuals in the community. To be able to see it first hand makes it all worthwhile.
Q: What are you reading?
A: I just finished “No Apology — The Case for American Greatness.”
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: My favorite movie of all time is “Casablanca.” I’m hopeless romantic.
Q: What’s on your iPod?
A: I really like country music, so I have a lot of country. Also, there’s lots of stuff my children like.
Q: What’s your favorite vacation destination?
A: Steamboat, Colo. We really like to go there with our kids.
Q: Are you a summer or a winter person?
A: I think I’m a fall person. It’s my favorite season.
Q: What is your favorite Chicago sports team?
A: Probably the Bears and the Bulls.