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The gift of giving

Community effort makes Christmas possible

Thanks to 84 organizations and individuals throughout Grundy County, 754 children from 332 low-income families found gifts under the tree this Christmas, according to We Care of Grundy County.

In 2011, 776 children from 356 families received help for Christmas.

“The task of caring for Grundy County families in need at Christmas is too large for any organization to handle alone,” says Denise Gaska, executive director of We Care. “But when each organization and individual takes care of the number of families they can comfortably manage with their time and resources, we can succeed in accomplishing our common Christmas mission — making sure that every child has at least one gift under the tree on Christmas morning. There’s no one organization that can do it alone — we all make the Christmas miracle happen when we work together.”

Through We Care’s annual “Adopt-A-Family” program, families in need apply for help with Christmas gifts for their children and food for their holiday meal. Families must fill out an application and provide We Care with proof of their income for the previous 30 days.

We Care thoroughly screens each applicant for income eligibility. Eligible families are placed in the pool of families available for “adoption.” Organizations and individuals that want to help families in need at Christmas contact We Care to “adopt” those families and do their best to fulfill the families’ needs.

The following is list of sponsoring organizations and the number of We Care families and children they helped this year. Some organizations may have helped even more families whose names they acquired through other sources. The agencies are (Families, Children): American Styrenics — 1, 3; Aux Sable — 4, 13; Braceville Township — 1, 3; Church of Hope — 4, 12; Coal City Food Pantry 4, 8; Coal City Early Childhood Center — 1, 2; Coal City Intermediate School — 1, 2; Corleone’s — 2, 5; Costco — 8, 36; Coal City Middle School — 1, 2; Exelon Dresden; 14, 41; First Christian Church — 2, 10; First Midwest Bank — 1, 4; First Presbyterian — 8, 21; First United Methodist Church — 4, 10;
Girl Scouts — 1, 4; Gleaners Life Insurance - Sulpher Springs — 1, 2; Grace Lutheran Church — 4, 14; Grundy Area Vocational Center — 2, 11; Grundy Bank — 1, 2; Immaculate Conception Church — 20, 52; Kiwanis Club of Morris — 11, 25; Mazon Verona Kinsman Food Pantry — 8, 15; Minooka United Methodist Church/St. Mary’s Catholic Church — 11, 25; Morris Community High School - National Honor Society and Student Council — 5, 9; Morris Hospital Employees — 5, 9; Morris Lions Club — 15, 20; New Community Christian Church — 10, 22; Operation St. Nick — 71, 153; Pam’s Academy of Dance — 1, 3; Peace Lutheran Church Sunday School — 2, 5; Shabbona Student Council — 1, 2; Toys for Tots/We Care — 27, 60; Wal-Mart — 17, 17; West Lisbon Church — 2, 5; White Oak Elementary School Fourth Grade Class — 1, 4; Brian Zabel & Associates — 7, 15; Group Donors— 278 families, 649 children; Individual Donors — 54 families, 105 children; Total — 332 families, 754 children.

There were 63 families who received help with just food for their Christmas dinner. Bethlehem Lutheran Church provided food for 12 of those families, the rest were served by We Care.

We Care thanks all of its partners who helped spread Christmas cheer to those in Grundy County who might otherwise have had little to smile about on Christmas morning. As a result of our combined efforts, more than 395 families were provided with some sort of Christmas assistance this year.

If your organization would like to help fill the Christmas needs of Grundy County families next year, please call the We Care office next November to get on the sponsor list.

We Care is a local nonprofit agency that provides emergency assistance to Grundy County residents in the form of food, rent, utility and prescription assistance. We Care is a United Way partner agency and is funded primarily by private donations.

For more information, call We Care of Grundy County at (815) 942-6389.

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