Moraine Township

News of the Township

For Immediate Release
date: November 4, 2012
Contact: Mari Barnes, Supervisor, 847-432-3240,

Sponsors Sought by Township for Annual 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. Enjoy the satisfaction of being a "secret Santa."

Moraine Township Supervisor Mari Barnes and staff have begun the process of identifying recipients and lining up sponsors for the annual Phyllis Santullano Holiday Gift Drive for children. Sponsors are asked to shop and drop off the gifts for needy children on December 12 and 13 to the Township office at 777 Central Avenue, Highland Park. Gifts will be picked up by families on December 14 and 15. A 2012 fillable PDF Sponsor Form is available on the Township's website.

"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.

"With experience, we've learned to adjust several aspects of our drive," according to Barnes. "We cull out duplicate names, and confirm interest and pickups with parents. Keeping all aspects of the drive on site at the Township Office, rather than holding it offsite, has also made it a smoother operation."

Sponsor are assigned (per their request) one or more children just after Thanksgiving and have until December 12 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 14 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM, and Saturday, December 15 from 9:00 AM to noon.

"To keep children busy if their parents have to wait in line to pick up the gifts, we brought in a volunteer Santa a couple of years ago," said Barnes. "It was a big success, and we hope to repeat it this year."

The Township will be accepting the dropped off gifts at the Township Office at 777 Central Avenue, Highland Park from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Wednesday and Thursday, December 12 and 13.

"While we are actually soliciting only for gifts to children during this drive, some residents like to donate gift certificates. These 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 two decades ago. (You can read the background story in Talk of the Township issue Vol. 2, No. 2 of Fall 2007 on the Moraine website.)

To sign up, contact the Township Office at 847-432-3240 or email Supervisor Barnes at for a 2012 Sponsor Form. Obtain a Sponsor Form and more information about the Township at



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