Holiday Giving Back

When customers enter Anderson’s Bookshop downtown during the holidays, they pass a tree with angel ornaments.

What looks like a decoration, is bringing joy to many kids this holiday season, through their Book Angel program.

“We get names from humanitarian services from all over the Chicago-land area and we have people choose a book,” said Becky Anderson, co-owner of Anderson’s. “We give them a discount and wrap it and deliver the books to kids in need at their Christmas parties.”

Anderson’s has been sponsoring the program for more than 20 years, and this year expects to get new books into the hands of more than 4,000 kids.

Little Friends, a Naperville not for profit that works with residents with Autism Spectrum Disorder also has giving trees throughout the city, including one at First Community Financial Bank, allowing people to take gift tags and return presents for those in need.

“Little Friends gives us names about individuals that are in need and specifically what they would need for Christmas,” said Lou Petritz, Market President at First Community Financial Bank.

Each year District 203 puts on a holiday giving program. This year, they are giving presents to more than 860 students, including all of these that are going to the Anne Reid Early Childhood Center.

Social workers within the schools determine the children in need and then members of the community choose adopt them for the holidays.

“You see repetitive things, like the rainbow loom kit that I know is so popular this year,” explained Betty Stevenson, the organizer of this year’s Holiday Giving Program. “And then some kids just need hats, mittens, socks.”

The Naperville Park District Police has also gotten into the spirit of giving by participating in the Marine’s Toys for Tots program for the fifth year.

Since mid-November, residents have been dropping off new, unwrapped toys to the Park police who take them to the Marine toy warehouse to be distributed during the holidays throughout the Chicago-land area.

“We’ve already sent two truck-loads up to the warehouse in Lombard and we are expecting by the end of this week to send another truck-load,” said Naperville Park District Police Chief Carl Schnibben.

All of the groups working to help brighten the season for others are grateful to the residents of Naperville for their generosity and helping them put smiles on kids’ faces.

“This isn’t meant to be the families only resource, but it’s one resource to help make their holiday a little more special,” said Stevenson.

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