Giving Tree at St. Peter Church Helps Needy
The Giving Tree is a holiday tradition at St. Peter Church and elsewhere in the community.
There are giving trees everywhere in Geneva this holiday season.
But one of the most enduring and effective is the Giving Tree at St. Peter Church in Geneva.
On Sunday, volunteers took time from their holiday season to spend a late-morning and afternoon collecting gifts for people who need them most.
"It's just a good thing to do," said Dennis Dressel, who sorted gifts with his wife, Dana, and children John, Macy and Carissa.
"There are a lot of people in need, and this is a very small way we can help," Dana said.
"And it's fun!" Macy chimed in.
After Thanksgiving, a small tree in the parish hall contains paper ornaments with a gift or gifts listed—men's socks, women's gloves, toothpaste and toys, diapers and dolls. The need is greater than it has been in many years, because so many area families have been hit so hard by some of the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression.
Gifts are donated to area social service agencies—Hesed House, Provena Geneva Care Center, Elgin Mental Health Center, Fox Valley Pregnancy Center, Catholic Charities, VNA of Fox Valley—and delivered by volunteers directly to their doors. It is unvarnished volunteer work, with 100 percent of the proceeds—which often include gift cards and monetary donations—going directly to the people in need.
Many families at St. Peter Church have made volunteering to the Giving Tree a traditional part of their Christmas celebration—another gift of the season, one that creates memories as lasting and valuable as any they might find under their own trees on Christmas Day.