More than 100 families received Christmas baskets over the weekend continuing a Glen Ellyn tradition that has been happening for more than 60 years.
With the help of donors, the Glen Ellyn Junior Woman’s Club, the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Co. and the Salvation Army were able to bring some happiness to families in need this holiday. The baskets were distributed on Dec. 8 to families ranging in size from small to large.
Donors adopted the families and provided gifts for all of the family members, according to the Glen Ellyn Junior Woman’s Club. Toys are gathered at area toy drives and food is donated by the Salvation Army.
The basket program helped 140 families, which included 25 seniors and 115 families, said Mary Sheehy, care person for the GE Junior’s Christmas Basket Program. A total of 593 people (333 were children in Glen Ellyn schools) received gifts this year.
Sheehy helps organize the family adoptions and the basket distribution. She’s done that job for the Glen Ellyn Junior Woman’s Club for four years. She became involved in the group after her husband saw a flier for the Christmas basket program and suggested that the family participate. That was nine years ago.
“We live in a great community full of people who want to help,” Sheehy said. “My biggest job is just making it easy for people who want to help. For me this is Christmas, this is what it means to be part of this community and to be a part of Christmas itself and for me I get to be in contact with those families and help those in need.”
The Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Co. helped distribute about 15 to 20 of the baskets on Dec. 8, said Lt. Craig Eldridge, the fire company’s public information officer.
“The response is wonderful, people are very touched that the community cares and it just another reason that Glen Ellyn is special,” Eldridge said.
The fire company has been partnering with the Glen Ellyn Junior Woman’s Club for many years to help with the basket distribution, he said. The fire company looks forward to the annual event, which is spearheaded at the fire company by Chief Stuart Stone and attracts about two-dozen volunteer firefighters and family members annually.
Participating in the event is rewarding for the volunteers who distribute the baskets, Eldridge said.
“We just hear ‘thank you’ over and over and ‘God bless you,” he said.
Anyone interested in participating in the Glen Ellyn Junior Woman's Club Christmas basket program in the future may e-mail the group to be put on the participation list, e-mail the group at GEJuniorsXmasBaskets@gmail.com.