During the holidays our passionate supporters stepped up to make the season brighter for kids and families across Illinois. In addition to thousands of donors who put us over our fundraising goal, several statewide events helped make holiday wishes come true for thousands of people statewide.

Generous donors provided holiday gifts for thousands of children across Illinois. The gifts were given to children in our foster care programs, early childhood education programs, to families participating in our parenting support programs and to teen participants in our violence prevention and youth services programs.

“I can’t believe someone would think of my family like this. This Christmas was such a blessing!” said one of the moms who received gifts for her family, including toys and games but also needed warm blankets and winter clothing.

Another mom, whose children attend our early childhood education center, wrote: “I want to thank you all. How do you explain no gifts on Christmas? Now I don’t have to.”

Throughout Illinois, generous corporations, community groups and individuals stepped up to spread the holiday love:

In our Chicago Metro Region…

Holiday Gift Drive – In Chicago, over 2,500 children and families received toys and games during our Holiday Gift Drive. The gift drive began in early November when our corporate and individual partners received wish lists from our children and families. These generous donors shopped for each child and delivered wrapped gifts to us to be delivered by December 14, bringing holiday cheer to all. A special thanks to our volunteers from CDW, Axiom Law and IEG for helping at our Holiday Headquarters – wrapping and sorting thousands of gifts!

In their own words:

“Thank you for the gifts, I love my new dolls”—Jada 

“You have no idea the impact your generosity will have on my children this holiday season, thank you!”—Kiyauna 

“Thank you so much for helping us make a Christmas for our amazing boys!”—Shaik Family

Snug Hugs for Kids Event – Our dedicated partner, Merlin 200,000 Mile Shops, helped keep kids and families warm this winter. From October through December they collected winter items at their shops for our Snug Hugs for Kids event. Snug Hugs provides Englewood families the chance to select warm-weather gear for their children at the Mitzi Freidheim Englewood Child & Family Center in Chicago. For the 28th year, Merlin’s and their 40+ volunteers caravanned to the Freidheim Center to deliver over 6 tons of coats, hand-knitted scarves, gloves, hats, sweaters and blankets. More than 200 boxes from 20+ trucks were unloaded and stacked in the Center’s gymnasium, which were then unpacked and sorted for the event by volunteers. More than 250 parents and grandparents from the Center then had the opportunity to shop for winter items for their families. Merlin’s also presented a $17,000 donation to Children’s Home & Aid to support every child, every family, thriving.

 In our Rockford Region…

Children’s Holiday Shoppe – Mother House Crisis Nursery held its annual Children’s Holiday Shoppe to raise funds and to allow children an opportunity to shop for family members. The event was held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church from December 5-8. It was a fun event for the children and for all the volunteers (elves) who helped them shop. The event raised more than $4,000 in support for Mother House.

Holiday Gift Drive – We had loads of wonderful donations of toys, clothes and other items for our Holiday Gift Drive. Some local donors included: the Pediatric Therapy and Adult Speech Therapy Services department from Swedish American Hospital, Roscoe United Methodist Church, Stateline Toy Collector’s Club, Circle of Wellness, Machesney Elementary School, Wesley Willows, Toymakers of Aldersgate and Rockford Nephrology Associates.  Hundreds of children and families had a very happy Christmas thanks to the generosity of these organizations and many others.

In our Bloomington-Normal Region…

Adopt-A-Family – For over 30 years, the Adopt-a-Family program has been providing families in need in the Bloomington area with assistance during the holiday season. With a record number of families needing help this year, the community did not disappoint, coming through with gifts, basic clothing and household supplies to ensure that 600 less-fortunate children and adults had something under the tree to open. The community also donated nearly $54,500 so volunteers could shop for additional families in need. These volunteers, led by longtime Board Member Stacie Killian, clocked over 800 hours managing, shopping and wrapping gifts. Thanks for another successful year in giving back to those in need in the Bloomington-Normal region!

Stuff the Bus – Supporters in the Bloomington-Normal area stepped up to make a difference in the lives of infants and young children in crisis. They pitched in to “Stuff the Bus” full of clothing, supplies and toys for our Crisis Nursery – the only one of its kind in the area. Now in its 16th year, this annual tradition provides a safe environment and necessities to parents and babies facing issues like homelessness, domestic violence, medical emergencies, joblessness or substance abuse. Thanks to you, Children’s Home & Aid collected nearly 6,150 children’s supplies to stock our shelves to feed, clothe and care for the hundreds of at-risk children who come to us when their family is experiencing a state of crisis. In addition to blankets, diapers and formula, we received more than $4,300 in gift cards and cash for the Crisis Nursery. Special thanks to sponsor Paul Davis Restoration as well as Connect Transit, Walmart and Kroger who teamed up to make this annual event possible.

In Metro East…

Holiday Gift Program – Our Holiday Gift program was once again a great success thanks to the efforts of many generous donors and volunteers. Through their combined efforts, happiness and holiday cheer were brought to over 230 of our neediest families during the season. This wouldn’t have been possible without the compassion and willingness to help children in our communities. The donations of gifts and time made a significant impact on our families as evidenced by the tears of joy from the many parents and the bountiful smiles on so many children’s faces.

Several donors including Simmons Law Firm, SIUE Sociology Class, Maryville Kiwanis, Extreme Baseball & Softball Club and Lindenwood University Athletic Department went above and beyond by supporting multiple families. First United Presbyterian Church not only sponsored over 25 families but also committed to continued assistance for 14 of those families in 2019.

We were so grateful to have World Wide Technology send over 25 volunteers to help coordinate the gifts and distribution process. Giving of their time truly helped us to be successful. We were also pleased to once again partner with Play it Forward, who made the holiday extra special for many children that dreamed of their very own musical instrument.

We’re grateful for all who supported Children’s Home & Aid during the 2018 holiday season. Your support will help fund our vital programs operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in communities across the state. On behalf of the boys and girls we serve, thank you for your generosity and compassion.