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Charity Briefs for Dec. 24, 2013

Santa's workload was little lighter agathis year thanks sixth- through eighth-grade students staff Hickory Creek Middle School. Their hard work

Santa's workload was a little lighter again this year, thanks to sixth- through eighth-grade students and staff at Hickory Creek Middle School. Their hard work, along with generous donations from Frankfort families, was done to grant the wishes of needy children. Hickory Creek sixth-grade teacher Renee Grady coordinates the annual effort. The program answers letters that needy children have written to Santa. Prekindergarten through fourth-grade children from the Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural Academic Center in Chicago were the designated recipients of Hickory Creek's efforts. | Supplied photo

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Updated: January 25, 2014 6:16AM



New Year’s Gala: The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s Eve Gala returns to Olympia Fields Country Club, 2800 Country Club Drive, Olympia Fields, starting at 7 p.m. Dec. 31, after a year’s hiatus. The event raises money for the IPO educational programs, including discounted student tickets and visiting artist appearances. The gala will feature a pre-dinner Viennese-style concert of waltzes by IPO musicians. After-dinner dancing music will be provided by the Alex Blomarz Quintet. The evening includes a New York strip steak dinner, bananas Foster and a sparkling wine toast at midnight. There will be raffles as well. Tickets are $150 per person, and there will be a cash bar. To buy tickets, visit ipomusic.org or call (708) 481-7774.

Matching Grant for Crisis Center: The Tinley Park-based Crisis Center for South Suburbia has been issued an important challenge by The Greer Foundation, which is offering a $44,000 matching grant for two CCSS programs: Children’s Therapy and Fresh Start Teen Dating Violence Prevention. Among other services, CCSS counsels children who are victims of domestic violence. Greer has challenged CCSS to raise $44,000 by midnight, Dec. 31. CCSS is asking for donations to the Children’s Therapy and/or Fresh Start Teen Dating Violence Prevention programs. Every dollar donated will go twice as far with the matching grant. To donate online, visit www.crisisctr.org, click “donate now” and enter “challenge” in the comments box. Or mail a donation to CCSS, P.O. Box 39, Tinley Park, IL 60477 — Attention Development Department.

New Year’s party: The Rockdale Lions will host a New Year’s Eve party at American Legion Harwood Post No. 5, 705 S. Larkin Ave., Rockdale. The cost is $35 per person and there will be an open bar from 9 p.m. to midnight Dec. 31, along with pizza. For more information, call the Rockdale Lions Club at 815-729-3201.

Volunteer Opportunity: The Fourth Annual Community Christmas Tree Recycling drop-off is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 4 at Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center, 20000 S. Western Ave., Olympia Fields. Volunteers are sought, even if it’s just for one hour to assist with the trees. To help, email info@hfchristmastreerecycling.com.

Benefit concert: Crete-Monee Cavaliers and Faces will hold their annual benefit concert at 7 p.m. Jan. 16 at Crete-Monee High School, 1515 Exchange St., Crete. The show is upbeat, kid-friendly and spotlights local musical talent. Tickets are $10 and can be bought at the door. Proceeds benefit the music education program and will help the kids travel to a national competition in Nashville, Tenn., this spring.

‘Senior American Idol’ Auditions: “Senior American Idol,” a fundraiser for the Orland Township Scholarship Foundation, will hold auditions at 6 p.m. Jan. 23 in the Orland Township Activity Center, 14807 S. Ravinia Ave., Orland Park. Check-in is at 5:45 p.m. Auditions are open to those 55 and older. Participants must perform a song of their choice (no more than two minutes long) a cappella in front of a panel of judges. Auditions are free, but those chosen to be contestants for the May 15 show must pay the contestant fee of $30. To register, call (708) 403-4222. For more information, visit www.orlandtwp.org.

Clothing drive: Phoebe’s Closet, the clothing ministry of Mayo African Methodist Episcopal Church, will accept gently worn and clean clothing donations from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month. Phoebe’s Closet, which is open during those hours, offers men’s, women’s and children’s clothing to those in need at no cost. The church is at 20839 S. Homeland Road, Matteson.

Winter clothes, volunteers wanted: Neat Repeats Resale is accepting gently used men’s, women’s and children’s coats, plus children’s winter clothing and toys at either store: 7026 W. 111th St. in Worth, or 9028 W. 159th St., Orland Park. Call (708) 361-6860 or (708) 364-7605, respectively. All sales benefit the clients of the Crisis Center for South Suburbia, a nonprofit that provides emergency shelter and other services for individuals and families victimized by domestic violence. Both stores also are looking for volunteers. Call the stores for details.

Volunteers Sought: The Gaylord Building, 200 W. Eighth St., Lockport, is seeking volunteers to help preserve and promote the historic site. The building played a vital role in the construction of the Illinois & Michigan Canal and has been a landmark since 1838. The building needs volunteers to help with visitor services, guided tours, educational programs, building maintenance and gardening. Hours are flexible, and experience is not necessary, as training will be provided. For more information, call (815) 838-9400 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

Donations needed: The South Suburban Family Shelter is in need of nonperishable food items for clients who are experiencing domestic violence. Personal hygiene products also are needed. Donations may be dropped off at 18139 Harwood Ave., Homewood. Call (708) 794-2140, Ext.303, before dropping off items.

Food Drive: Two Men and a Truck, an Orland Park-based moving company, is working with Move for Hunger to collect food to help fight hunger. Nonperishable food items will be donated to the Orland Township Food Pantry. To request boxes for food donatisons when you are moving, or for more information about Move For Hunger, visit twomenandatruckorlandpark.com/move-for-hunger.

Recycling: St. Christopher School, 14611 S. Keeler Ave., Midlothian, is holding a recycling fundraiser, and will be collecting items including empty toner and ink-jet cartridges, cell phones, DVDs, video games and video games systems, PDAs, iPods and laptops. The items may be dropped off at the school, parish office or church. Items should be undamaged, and empty toner should be repackaged into the new box of toner. Companies that want to donate but cannot deliver items are asked to call the school at (708) 385-8776. The school also recycles paper, with three bins on the south side of the gravel parking lot on the east side of the building.

Cell Phone Collection: South Suburban Family Shelter is collecting cell phones for an ongoing fundraiser, and also is seeking schools, businesses or other organizations to volunteer as collection sites. The shelter provides services for victims of domestic violence. Collection sites include the SSFS administrative office, 18139 Harwood Ave., Homewood; Bergstein’s NY Deli, 200 Dixie Highway, Chicago Heights; and Doyle Designed Salon, 2630 Flossmoor Road, Flossmoor. For more information, call (708) 794-2140, Ext. 303.

Resale Shop: One More Thing Resale Shop, 343 Main St., Park Forest, is accepting donations of clothing and accessories, appliances, toys and household items. Furniture is accepted by arrangement. One More Thing also is accepting volunteer applications. Sales at the store benefit South Suburban Family Shelter, which supports victims of domestic violence and homeless women with children. Donations are welcome from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Information: Contact Janice at (708) 228-5077.

Repeat Boutique: The Repeat Boutique resale shop, at 18157 Dixie Highway in Homewood, is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. All workers are volunteers, and all proceeds go to Grand Prairie Services clients. Items in the shop include clothing, furs, jewlery, shoes, books and household items. Information: (708) 957-5052.

Seeking volunteers: The Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Illinois Chapter is seeking individuals interested in becoming Alzheimer’s Association Community Representatives in Will County. New volunteers will receive training. To become an AACR, visit alz.org/illinois, click on “volunteer” and select “Alzheimer’s Association Community Rep” on the application form.

Donate unused tickets: Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens, 7402 W. Lake Katherine Drive in Palos Heights, has joined tix4cause.com, an emarketplace ticket service that turns unused tickets into cash donations for nonprofits. Individuals, businesses or corporations can donate unused tickets for sports, music, theater or leisure activities to Lake Katherine. The public can buy tickets via tix4cause.com, and 90 percent of the ticket proceeds go to support Lake Katherine. To make a donation and/or buy tickets, visit www.lakekatherine.org or tix4cause.com. Be sure to identify Lake Katherine as your charity of choice. Information: (708) 361-1873.

Text to Give: Nonprofit organization Park Lawn, 10833 S. LaPorte, Oak Lawn, has recently launched a new “Text to Give” mobile giving campaign to benefit the programs and services for individuals with developmental disabilities. The program allows donors to make a $5 donation through Give by Cell by texting the phrase GIVEPL to the number 20222. Donations are tax-deductible and pledges are billed through your monthly cell phone bill. Users must be 18 or older or have parental permission to participate, and must agree to the terms and conditions. Message and data rates may apply. For more information, visit www.givebycell.com.

Staples: Together We Cope is seeking certain staples that are in short supply at its food pantry. Canned soup, pasta, rice and breakfast cereal in particular can be dropped off at the pantry, 17010 S. Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; and from 2 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. Contact Carol Ettema, pantry director, at (708) 633-5040 if you wish to conduct a food drive for those items.

Purr-fect Donations: The South Suburban Humane Society is seeking donations to help take care of kittens. The humane society is registered at Target and Wal-Mart. Donated items also can be dropped off at The South Suburban Humane Society at 1103 West End Ave., Chicago Heights, or the SSHS Spay/Neuter Clinic at 18349 S. Halsted St., Glenwood.

Encore Shop Expansion: The newly expanded Encore Shop, the resale shop of Silver Cross Hospital, is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and the first Saturday of the month. The shop is in the Hershman Building, 1301 Copperfield Ave., Joliet, the former Silver Cross Hospital campus. Donations of gently used seasonal decorations, adult and children’s clothing, household items and books can be dropped off there. Call (815) 300-7642 or Volunteers Services at Silver Cross Hospital at (815) 300-7117. Past proceeds have helped buy X-ray equipment, ICU beds, laptop computers, dialysis and mammography equipment, surgery carts and more for the nonprofit hospital.

Pizza for a cause: St. Christopher School and Kenootz Pizzeria have teamed up for an Eat and Earn Fundraiser on the first Tuesday of each month. Kenootz Pizzeria, 4659 W. 147th St., Midlothian, is donating 25 percent of all profits for dine-in, carry-out and delivery order (before taxes, gratuity, and coupons) to the school. Be sure to mention St. Christopher when ordering to have the percentage donated. Call the pizzeria at (708) 535-0005.

Target St. Christopher School: St. Christopher School in Midlothian is continuing its participation in Target Corp.’s “Take Charge of Education” program. To help the school, individuals need to use their Target REDcard and inform the checkout person that they would like St. Christopher School to receive credit for the purchase. It does not cost the purchaser anything and Target Corp. will donate up to 1 percent of the REDcard purchases to the school.

Donations needed: Neat Repeats Resale stores in Orland Park and Worth are in need of gently used women’s and children’s clothing, accessories, handbags, shoes and jewelry along with small household appliances and kitchen items in good working order. The Neat Repeats stores depend on community residents to provide the inventory for the retail operations. All donations benefit women and children who are receiving services free of charge from the Crisis Center for South Suburbia. Items can be dropped off at either store location: 7026 W. 111th St. in Worth, (708) 361-6860; or 9028 W. 159th St. in Orland Park, (708) 364-7605.

Sharing soles: Orland Township, 14807 S. Ravinia, is collecting shoes for the Share Your Soles organization. Any gently worn shoes will be accepted 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays. The goal of the charity is to provide shoes to underprivileged families worldwide. Call (708) 403-4222.

Pets for vets: To ease the financial costs associated with pet ownership, the Animal Welfare League offers all veterans with military ID an exclusive 20 percent adoption fee discount. Adoptions include a free leash and collar or cat carrier, AVID Microchip, 10-day health care and one-year rabies vaccination. Adoptable pets can be viewed online at www.animalwelfareleague.com or by visiting the Chicago Ridge location, noon to 8 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Veterans can also get a 10 percent discount off veterinary services through its clinic, which is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. Information: visit www.PetsforPatriots.org or call (877) 473-8223.

Volunteers sought: Catholic Charities is seeking volunteers to help at “The Giving Tree” donation center at 3016 S. State St. in Lockport. Volunteers will assist with sorting, organizing and distributing a variety of items. Volunteers must be available to help on weekdays and be at least 18. Contact Marianne Holzhauer at (815) 774-4663, Ext. 3105 for information. If you are in need of services, contact Daybreak Center at the same phone number. For more information about the programs and services provided by Catholic Charities, visit catholiccharitiesjoliet.org.

Ring up donations: South Suburban Family Shelter is seeking cell phone donations and new cell phone collection sites for its ongoing fundraising program. The agency works with a company that specializes in the collection and recycling of used cellular phones. Some cell phone collection sites include: SSFS administrative office, 18139 Harwood, Homewood; Bergstein’s NY Deli, 200 Dixie Highway, Chicago Heights; and Doyle Designed Salon, 2630 Flossmoor Road., Flossmoor. Call (708) 794-2140, Ext.303.

Filling pantries: Working to meet unprecedented demand at its pantries in Worth and Summit, Catholic Charities southwest regional office is accepting donations of food and money earmarked for the pantries at its office, 7000 W. 111th St. in Worth. Call (708) 430-0428.

New program: Sertoma Centre Inc. hopes to reach a growing population of individuals who have been dually diagnosed with a developmental disability and mental illness. Its new program is a part of the Developmental Training Programs at Sertoma Centre, which will provide the opportunity for individuals to receive group or individual counseling. Participants in the program also will be given alternatives to talk therapies to better suit the needs of a wide range of individuals. Art, sand and play therapy techniques will be utilized for those who struggle with expressing their thoughts and feelings. Also, the utilization of poetry, music, and journaling will be implemented for relaxation and therapeutic interventions. Contact Heather Beckner at (708) 730-6333 or at hbeckner@sertomacentre.org.

Gift cards aid shelter: South Suburban Family Shelter is participating in Jewel-Osco’s gift card program. Gift cards are available for purchase in $25, $50 and $100 increments, and the shelter will receive a 5 percent rebate for cards sold by the agency. Payment is made to South Suburban Family Shelter for the face value of the gift card: Proceeds benefit the programs and services provided free of charge to victims of domestic violence and their families. Contact the shelter at (708) 794-2140, Ext.303, or visit the administrative offices at 18139 Harwood, Homewood.

Tickets for a cause: Sertoma Centre Inc. has joined Tix4Cause.com, a ticket exchange website, to offer a new way for supporters to donate. The Tix4Cause website provides an online platform where ticketholders can donate unwanted tickets to Sertoma Centre and receive a tax deduction. Buyers then purchase these tickets, often at reasonable prices, and Tix4Cause passes 100 percent of the proceeds on to Sertoma Centre. Tix4Cause handles every aspect of customer service including ticket processing and handling. Silver Lake Country Club in Orland Park is the first to donate tickets on behalf of Sertoma Centre. The tickets are valued at $140 and include four rounds of open play, 1-18 holes on their course. Sertoma Centre Inc. is a nonprofit agency that provides services to more than 625 individuals with developmental, physical and emotional disabilities and/or mental illness. Contact Melanie Jones at (708) 730-6206, www.sertomacentre.org or visit www.tix4cause.com.

Shop for PADS: South Suburban PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) has joined the network of charitable organizations that turn gently used fashions and accessories into cash at the Spree store at 151st Street and LaGrange Road in Orland Park. All donations of gently used clothing, shoes, jewelry, purses and other accessories donated at the Spree store can earn money for PADS. When individuals drop their items at Spree and select PADS as the charity of their choice, PADS receives a check for these donations. Information: Contact Dawn Thrasher at (708) 754-4357, Ext. 107, or dawn@sspads.org.

Replenish the pantry: Elsie’s Pantry, located at Moraine Valley Community Church in Palos Hills, has an ongoing need for canned goods and monetary donations to keep up with the increasing need. Since June 2000, the pantry has served more than 27,000 people living in Palos Hills, Palos Heights, Palos Park, Hickory Hills and parts of Bridgeview, Justice, Orland Park, Willow Springs and Worth. However, donations have decreased over the past two years, forcing the pantry to use its reserves, which, if not replenished, would run out by the end of the year. Canned goods can be brought to the church between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Donations by check may be made to Elsie’s Pantry, 8601 W. 107th St., Palos Hills, 60465. Information: (708) 598-4435.

Free bag of food: New Mercies Community Services was organized in 2003 to provide support services to low-income, elderly and disabled families in south Cook County. The organization operates a food pantry in Midlothian that distributes bags of food twice weekly to this same targeted population. Food distribution is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at New Mercies Community Services, 3824 W. 147th St., Midlothian. Donations to support the service also are sought. Information: Laurie Reed at (708) 606-2864.

Come clean: Together We Cope is seeking donations of personal care items — including shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap and disposable razors — that will be shared with families utilizing food pantry services. Donations of any quantity may be dropped off at 17010 S. Oak Park Ave. Tinley Park. Together We Cope is a nonprofit agency assisting families in temporary crisis from 22 south suburban communities. Information: Suellen or Tina at (708) 633-5040 or www.togetherwecope.org.

Reaching out: Together We Cope in Tinley Park has established an emergency outreach food program with Faith United Methodist Church as a partner. Emergency bags of nonperishable food will be delivered to the Orland Park church to increase outreach to families needing food. The organization seeks to establish similar partnerships with other area churches. Information: Mary Ann Baer at (708) 633-5040.

Furniture pickup: Together We Cope has added an additional day to its schedule for furniture pickups in Tinley Park and nearby suburbs. With pickups on Tuesdays and Fridays, there now is new inventory of gently used furniture twice a week at the organization’s resale shop, located at 17010 S. Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park. The shop is open six days a week, and a small donation is requested for furniture pickups. Information: Call the shop at (708) 633-9180 or visit www.togetherwecope.org. Together We Cope is a nonprofit agency assisting families in crisis from 27 south suburban communities.

Help soldiers call home: “Cell Phones for Soldiers” was started by two teenagers to help buy calling cards to send to U.S. military stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world. They are collecting old cell phones and accessories. The cell phones are recycled for cash and proceeds used to buy the calling cards for the soldiers. “Cell Phones for Soldiers” has raised almost $2 million in donations and distributed more than 500,000 prepaid calling cards to soldiers serving overseas. Daniels Printing and Office Supply, 14800 Cicero Ave., Oak Forest, is an official drop-off point for any make or model cell phone. Information: www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.

Seeking senior volunteers: The Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Catholic Charities is seeking people 55 or older willing to share their talents and help those in need at a variety of local organizations, mainly in the Joliet Diocese. Catholic Charities will match individual interests with available volunteer opportunities and will provide supplementary insurance, mileage and meal reimbursement during volunteer service. Information: Cindy, (815) 933-7791, Ext. 125.

Donate cell phones: South Suburban Family Shelter is collecting old cell phones to be recycled. The recycling process produces revenue to support the shelter’s services. The Rotary Club of Park Forest has paired up with the shelter to help in the collection process. For a list of donation sites, visit www.rotaryofparkforest.org and click on “cell phone locations,” or www.ssfs1.org and click on “donate.”

Wendy’s Night: VFW Post 177 MacDonald-Linn has a fundraiser between 5 and 8 p.m. the last Wednesday of each month at the Wendy’s Restaurant at 79th Street and Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview. Proceeds benefit the VFW National Home for Children, located in Michigan. Participants simply order food (drive-through or sit-in) from Wendy’s during this time period, and Wendy’s donates a portion of its profits to this cause.

Food for victims: South Suburban Family Shelter is in need of nonperishable food items such as canned soups, vegetables and fruit for its clients who are experiencing domestic violence. Personal hygiene products (regular, not sample size please) are also needed. Donations may be dropped off at 18139 Harwood, Homewood. Please call ahead before dropping off items. Contact the shelter at (708) 794-2140, Ext. 303.

Text to Give: St. Xavier University’s Department for University Advancement has announced a new “Text to Give” mobile giving campaign to benefit the university’s Class Gift Fund and the St. Xavier Fund. The program allows donors to make $10 donations using their mobile phones through Give by Cell. You can make a gift to the Class Gift Fund by texting CLASSGIFT with your first and last name to 20222, or make a gift to the St. Xavier Fund by texting SXU with your first and last name to 20222. Donors can give multiple times a month depending on your carrier. Donations are tax-deductible, and pledges are billed through your monthly cell phone bill. Messaging and data rates may apply. For information, visit www.givebycell.com.

CARE Program: ComEd offers customer assistance programs that help deployed members of the military and disabled veterans who have fallen behind on their bills, plus programs for low-income families and for nonprofits. For more information or to enroll, visit ComEd.Com/CARE or call (888) 806-2273.



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