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News of the Township
Holiday Gift Drive Begins

For Immediate Release
date: November 6, 2011
Contact: Mari Barnes, Supervisor, 847-432-3240, super@morainetownship.org

Sponsors & Santa Wanted as Moraine Gears Up
for Santullano Holiday Gift Drive

Want to do something to help your neighbors during the coming holiday season? Looking for a worthwhile family project that will benefit others and teach your children the lessons of giving? If you have the ability to provide gifts for others, become a Moraine Township holiday sponsor this year.

Moraine Township Supervisor Mari Barnes and staff have begun the process of lining up sponsors for the annual Phyllis Santullano Holiday Gift Drive for children. Sponsors purchase gifts for needy children. Gifts will be distributed on December 16 and 17 at the Township office at 777 Central Avenue, Highland Park.

"Well before November 1 each year, we start to work with schools, religious groups, clubs and agencies to organize the annual gift drives in time for Christmas holidays," Barnes said.

Barnes is especially interested in recruiting members of the community to become gift sponsors for one or more children birth through 18 years of age. Needy youngsters are identified by school social workers and social service provider agencies in the area, which has proven to be a somewhat imperfect process.

"With experience, we've learned to adjust several aspects of our drive," according to Barnes. "We've worked on culling out duplicate names, and that's been effective. Unfortunately, however, each year some gifts were never picked up. These were always donated to needy groups outside the township, but we learned that gift drive messages to our local parents weren't always getting through. To remedy that, parents are being asked this year to confirm their interest in participating before a sponsor is assigned."

Sponsor are assigned (per their request) one or more children just after Thanksgiving and have until December 15 to shop; they are anonymous to one another. Children fill out a reasonable wish list (electronics excluded) and the sponsors are asked to buy accordingly.

"We hope sponsors will stay within the $50 range per child we're suggesting," said Barnes. "This community effort isn't about the biggest and the best, but about participation, and the personal touch of holiday caring."

The Township is also looking for a volunteer Santa to serve on Friday, December 16 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM, and Saturday from 9:00 AM to noon.

"In the past couple of years, to keep children busy while their parents waited in line to pick up the gifts, we brought in a volunteer Santa," said Barnes. "It was a terrific success, and we expect to repeat it this year."

New this year: gift drop-off and pick-up will take place entirely at the Moraine Township office at 777 Central Avenue, Highland Park.

The Township will be accepting the dropped off gifts starting on Thursday, December 15 from 1:00 to 6:00 PM, and Friday, December 16 from 8:30 AM to 12 noon, with more specific information provided after sponsors sign up.

"Gift certificates have also been very much appreciated in the past, and are distributed to needy families in the Moraine Township area," she added.

The Phyllis Santullano Holiday Gift Drive is named in memory of Phyllis Santullano, former Highland Park City Councilwoman, Executive Director of the North Suburban Self-Help Center and community activist. In 2007, the Township assumed responsibility for a holiday gift event operated through local schools by volunteers who named it in Santullano's honor nearly two decades ago.

To sign up, contact the Township Office at 847-432-3240 or email Supervisor Barnes at <super@morainetownship.org> for a Sponsor Form. Obtain a Sponsor Form and more information about the Township at http://morainetownship.org.

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777 Central Av, Highland Park IL 60035, 847-432-3240