While some children hope to unwrap a new toy for Christmas, others find solace and even joy in receiving a coat to keep them warm.
Some Lake County children whose families lack the resources for either have been invited to a special holiday party on Sunday hosted by the Fox Lake-Round Lake Area Rotary Club.
No less than 350 local children will gather at YMCA Camp Duncan in Ingleside for the annual George Watson Children’s Day, having breakfast and lunch, receiving gifts and spending time with Santa.
The children, ranging from kindergarten to grade five, were chosen by their school districts as students in need of warm clothing.
Bobby Thomas, executive director of Camp Duncan and YMCA Camp Independence, said students were asked about their coat size, sock size and a toy they wanted. Children will receive these things, along with a stocking full of toiletries and another stocking filled with candy.
âIt’s something that is really needed at this time of year,â Thomas said. âIt’s good to want to donate to national organizations, but you rarely see it impacting the people who live next to you. It’s a great community event. “
The event has been going on for about 20 years, but last year and this year’s methods were changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, gifts were delivered to 400 children. This year’s event will again be held in person, but with social distancing in mind. Everyone will have to wear masks.
Ted Beskow, president of the local Rotary club, said about $ 23,000 is spent on gifts each year.
âThere is a lot of accomplishment to be had in doing this,â Beskow said. “These kids are happy to have sweatshirts or new socks. When they’re as excited for it as when they have a new toy, it really shows how much they appreciate it.”