BIG HEARTS OF FOX VALLEY
We are a little over a month past the holidays now. Decorations have been put away (maybe), new toys are being played with (hopefully), and the post-holiday diets have started (ahem…). However, so many families this year were impacted by COVID, job loss, health issues and unfortunate circumstances that they found themselves in need of assistance during the holidays. If they lived within the boundaries of school district 303, Big Hearts of Fox Valley was there to lend them a hand. Their reach covers St. Charles and portions of Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, West Chicago, South Elgin, Campton Hills and unincorporated Kane County.
Since 2014, Big Hearts of Fox Valley (BHFV) has been working with D303 social workers to identify families in need that may have circumstances that would impact their ability to provide gifts during the holidays. BHFV’s Christmas Gift Sponsorship & Holiday Toy Drive helps get gifts to children from wish lists they personally create. The entire community is then invited to come together to the Gift Wrapping Party to help wrap donated gifts and celebrate the magic of Christmas. With the help of several local community sponsors, there is plenty of food, drinks and entertainment for the entire family. Although, they weren’t able to have a party in 2020 due to COVID restrictions, they are hoping and planning to have one in 2021. “This free event is a great opportunity to show children about the importance of giving back,” says Jennifer Mobley, BHFV President and Co-Founder. “In 2019, we had 800 volunteers at our party. D303 staff then took the wrapped gifts to each school for parent pick-up.”
In January 2020, BHFV began the Big Hearts Throughout the Year program, which runs according to D303 school calendar and assists families with basic necessities, hygiene supplies and grocery store gift cards throughout the school year. Their fundraising is primarily through social media with their greatest need beginning in September of each year when they gear up for the Christmas Sponsorship Program. Donations are made directly through their website at www.bigheartsfv.org/make-a-donation or mailed into their St. Charles office. “When you donate to our organization or sponsor a child, you can be assured that you are helping a local family in need,” says Mobley.
BHFV is entirely volunteer run. They use volunteers to contact local businesses for fundraising, for the holiday toy drive, as a liaison to the schools, cataloging and organizing Christmas gifts and for necessities drives. To learn more about their on-going volunteering opportunities, fill out the volunteer form on their website at www.bigheartsfv.org/volunteer-opportunities.