Every year businesses around Naperville and surrounding communities collect toys for Giftmart, an event that benefits schools in neighboring Aurora.
For families who can’t afford gifts the holidays can feel like a burden. Kelly Switt and Amy Webb hope the Giftmarts they organize will help alleviate some of that burden.
“On the day of the event the parents can come to the event and bring their children, we provide free childcare, and they can shop for their kids’ toys and get them wrapped with the presents in hand, with only pay a nominal fee for each toy,” said Switt. “Then the money is given directly to the schools at the end of each event for them to utilize it for however they see fit.”
Over 130 businesses acted as collection sites for new toys.
“Some of our biggest supporters are people within the Naperville community. We have both churches that participate as well as individuals that provide donations,” said Switt. “The majority of them are within Naperville community. Naperville is one of our biggest sponsors in helping the people of east Aurora.”
The volunteers who make Giftmart a huge event want it to send a deeper message during the holidays.
“Everybody’s heart wants to be generous around Christmas and I think if we can harness that generosity around Christmas time and do more than just put a toy under the tree, we can foster a sense of pride and community in east aurora,” said Webb. “We can help parents become more involved in their own schools, and help fund programs that might not necessarily be available in the east Aurora schools that we serve.”
Members of the community that benefit from Giftmart play a part in putting on the event. They help unload the hundreds of toys.
“It’s a community event for the people of east Aurora. People come together and enjoy the community. It’s a neat thing to see them do, said Webb. “We’re able to see them fund their own schools. We’re able to help them help themselves.”
Since it started ten years ago Giftmart has been able to raiser over $100,000 for area schools.
Giftmarts also took place in Joliet.
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