EAST ALTON — Approximately one week remains in United Way’s 26th annual Community Christmas donation drive to benefit the Riverbend community.
As Christmas draws near, time is dwindling to drop off donations to one of more than 100 boxes placed in businesses and organizations around the area. The boxes will be available for donation drop-off until Thursday, Dec. 10, when they will be picked up for sorting and then distributed to receiving agencies on Friday, Dec. 11.
Donations needed include:
- Toys for children of all ages
- New clothes, undergarments and socks
- New coats for all ages
- Diapers, formula and baby essentials
- Blankets, towels
- Winter hats and scarves
- New gloves and mittens
- Personal items (hygiene essentials)
- Non-perishable food items
- Household items (cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper)
All items and monetary donations for Community Christmas help local families in need. Items will go to the following 17 agencies this year:
1. Boys & Girls Club of Alton
2. Caritas Family Solutions (Christian Social Services)
3. Catholic Charities of Madison County
4. Catholic Children’s Home
5. Centerstone (WellSpring Resources)
6. Charity Works
7. Children’s Home and Aid
8. Crisis Food Center Inc.
9. Illinois Center for Autism
10. Lutheran Child and Family Services
11. Oasis Women’s Center
12. Operation Blessing
13. Riverbend Community Food Pantry
14. Riverbend Family Ministries
15. Riverbend Head Start & Family Services
16. Salvation Army
17. Village of Royal Lakes (Concerned Citizens)
Those who wish to donate can drop off items at any location that has a Community Christmas box or at the United Way office during regular business hours, located at 707 Berkshire Blvd., Suite 270, East Alton, IL. For a complete list of box locations, visit United Way’s website at www.HelpingPeople.org/Events.
Community Christmas is also accepting cash donations. Monetary donations should be sent to the Southwest Illinois Division of United Way of Greater St. Louis: 707 Berkshire Blvd., Suite 270, East Alton, IL 62024 and marked as Attn: Community Christmas. Monetary donations will go toward buying items on the donation list that were not received in large quantities or for certain age groups.
Last year, Community Christmas collected 17,116 items that were distributed through 15 agencies. The Community Christmas Committee hopes to once again hit the 17,000-item count for donations to help more than 6,000 families in need this holiday season.
Thus far, just a few examples out of dozens of the community’s generosity to help one another through Community Christmas include: the hundreds of items collected at Freer Auto Body’s eighth annual Cookies and Cocoa for Christmas on Dec. 1, the opening night of Christmas Wonderland at Rock Spring Park that collected dozens of items and raised $250 for the program thanks to the Grandpa Gang, and Edwardsville attorney Keith Short, who donated $1,500 to the program.
“We are so incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from these individuals and from the hundreds of other businesses and residents who support Community Christmas,” Community Christmas coordinator Dawna Gilbreath said. “There is still time to give and help those in need this holiday season, so please, keep helping if you are able. Each and every gift goes a long way toward making this holiday season bright for our Riverbend residents.”
For information, call United Way at (618) 258-9800 or visit www.HelpingPeople.org.