1140 zoom holiday gatheringCHAMPAIGN – With the 2020 holiday season occurring during a global health pandemic, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is reminding residents to celebrate safely over the coming weeks.

“This has been a year of sacrifice to protect those we care about from COVID-19,” Bennett said. “We can’t let our guard down now with the holidays approaching. There is still time to downsize your plans so we can keep folks safe and healthy.”  

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control still recommend avoiding large groups and staying at home as often as you can, and wearing masks and practicing social distancing if you must go out.

“We all have to do our part during this critical time, and the safest way to spend the holiday is with those in our immediate households,” Bennett said. “Please take this seriously so we can create new memories with all of our loved ones in the New Year.”

Warm socks drive Vermilion

DANVILLE – Especially during the winter months, socks are among the most sought-after articles of clothing by people experiencing homelessness, leading State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) to launch a donation drive collecting new socks for shelters across Danville.

“The ongoing pandemic has impacted our community in so many ways and has increased the demand for charitable services,” Bennett said. “With temperatures dropping, I am asking for your help to provide warm socks for our less fortunate neighbors.”

Worn-out or ragged socks put people at serious risk of foot disease and, during the winter months, in severe danger from the cold. As a result, new socks are greatly needed by those experiencing homelessness—but they are the least donated clothing item at homeless shelters.

From Dec. 21 to Jan. 15, community members are encouraged to donate new socks for men, women and children at the collection locations below:

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SHIELD ILLINOIS

SPRINGFIELD – The Senate Higher Education Committee held a hearing Monday on the progress of SHIELD Illinois, the system which administers University of Illinois’ state-of-the-art rapid COVID-19 test, which uses saliva rather than the common nasal swab and is intended to be made available to all of the state’s public universities.

Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), a member of the Senate Higher Education Committee, has been supportive of University of Illinois’ efforts since the project’s early stages.

“The University of Illinois has stepped up to help other higher education institutions make a safe, responsible return to in-person learning,” Bennett said. “The U of I has proven the success of the saliva test, keeping their positivity rate below 1% despite nationwide surges. Expanding this testing program is more vital than ever for our colleges and universities.”

According to Tim Killeen, president of the U of I System, the university is organizing a testing program and infrastructure to deploy the innovative test across the state. This plan includes a prototype lab on wheels that will allow testing to take place where it is needed most.

“SHIELD is launching a network of high-capacity labs across the state to process test samples and provide fast, accurate results,” Killeen said. “This groundbreaking technology has attracted global attention, and we are working to expand the reach across Illinois and beyond.”

The test has such high sensitivity and specificity that there are almost no false positives or false negatives, which is one of the driving factors that has led to the university’s low positivity rate.

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Holiday Drive

CHAMPAIGN – To help ensure folks stay warm during the cold winter months, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is collecting supplies to benefit C-U at Home.

“The ongoing public health crisis has left families and neighbors in need of basic items this year,” Bennett said. “I’m confident we can come together as a community and support these people during this incredibly challenging time.”

C-U at Home is in particular need of new backpacks, hygiene supplies, long underwear and socks. These items are urgently needed to meet the needs for homeless individuals in the community.

“These folks are looking for a helping hand this year to survive the cold winter months,” Bennett said. “Donate today, if you can.”

Residents are encouraged to drop off donations to the collection box outside of Senator Bennett’s office in Champaign, located at 45 E. University, Suite 206 through Friday, Dec. 18. Bennett reminds those donating to wear a mask in the building and practice social distancing.

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Office Info

Champaign Office:
45 E. University Suite 206
Champaign, IL 61820
P: (217) 355-5252

Danville Office:
201 N. Vermilion St. Suite 323
Danville, IL 61832
P: (217) 442-5252

Springfield Office:
311C State House
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-2507