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News of the Township
Thank You: Santullano Gift Drive Successful

For Immediate Release: December 23, 2009
Contact: Mari Barnes, Supervisor
super@morainetownship.org
847-432-3240

WARM HEARTS, HELPING HANDS HELP PROVIDE A MERRY CHRISTMAS FOR ALL IN MORAINE TOWNSHIP

Generous residents of the Moraine Township community dug deep in this challenging economic season and provided gifts for 680 children pre-school through high school (up from 500 last year) from about 400 families and groups in the Township's annual Phyllis Santullano Holiday Gift Drive. Gifts of donated, wrapped new clothing and toys were dropped off on December 16, and distributed to parents on December 17 and 18. Trinity Episcopal Church again donated the use of their space for this purpose, a program now in its official third year with the Township. Introduced to the mix last year, a volunteer Santa was on duty to keep the children entertained while their parents were assisted by a cadre of volunteers who distributed the gifts. The scene was festive and warm despite wintry weather.

Township Supervisor Mari Barnes said the goal of providing gifts to every child identified by school social workers, local nonprofit agencies and the Township itself, very nearly was not met. "As late as a week before the distribution, we were short of donors by 50 children – but the community did come through, as it always has."

This year, Moraine Township also gave families grocery gift cards to Jewel and Sunset Foods rather than collecting and distributing gift baskets of donated food.

"We've learned that our families have their own priorities on what they'd like to serve during the holidays, and so we gave them that flexibility. Gift cards to local grocery stores were purchased with about $9,700 in funds donated to the Township's Community Chest," noted Barnes. "We also supplemented gaps in donated children's gifts by buying $3,000 in Target gift cards."

Township staff members Paula Peddle, Shannon Mosier and Grizell Toledo helped to organize the entire program, which matches children's wish lists with donors, anonymously. Volunteers from the community, the hospital, and Rotary – Bob Backis, Hania Fuschetto, Martha Gray, Connie Powell – and Moraine Trustees Dwayne Douglas, Bryna Gamson and Margoth Moreno lent a hand at distribution times, along with Supervisor Barnes and her staff. Peter DeBellis of Waukegan was again the volunteer Santa for both distribution days.

In all, a total of 400 sponsors – families, District 112 and Highland Park High School classrooms, Highland Park Hospital, service clubs and boards – made the effort and shared their resources with less fortunate others in the community. Their names are unpublished, but their efforts speak for themselves.

Moraine Township is grateful to everyone who participated in the process, and wishes everyone a hearty Season's Greetings and a Happy New Year.

For more information about Moraine Township, go to their website at http://morainetownship.org, or stop in at 777 Central Avenue, Highland Park, or call 847-432-3240 – and look for the winter issue of their newsletter, Talk of the Township.

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