Thanks to Mariah Reeves of Hanover Park, the Saavedra family of Carpentersville had a Christmas they'll remember for years.
Mariah helped raise nearly $2,500 in gift cards and checks for the family of five that includes Nathan Saavedra, a 3-year-old boy who suffers from prune belly syndrome and needs a second kidney donor to come forward.
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Donations came from as far away as California to ensure the family had all of the presents and food they needed.
"I wasn't really sure how much we were going to make or get donated," Mariah said, adding that she was happy with the final figure.
Mariah is Jewish. As part of a project for her upcoming bat mitzvah, she decided to help the Saavedras, who are facing hard times and live on $600 a month.
She took up a collection of gift cards and monetary donations at her school and synagogue, which she presented to the family late last month during a dinner at her house.
Tina Saavedra, Nathan's mom, said she'd been dreading the holiday season because she didn't know how she would have bought presents without the Reeves family.
"They truthfully made my Christmas a good Christmas," Tina said. "The kids were very excited, and I didn't have to worry since they helped me, because I was really worried at first."
Whip it good: The Dundee Township Park District has invited Chris Camp, also known as the "Whip Guy," to dazzle audiences from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, at the Rakow Center, 665 Barrington Ave., Carpentersville.
Camp is a three-time world champion whip cracker who has appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records, on "Ripley's Believe it or Not" and has appeared on the "Tonight Show."
The show will be held in the senior center wing.
It's $2 per person to preregister, $3 at the door, free for kids 2 and younger.
For information or to register, visit www.dtpd.org or call (847) 428-7131.
• Lenore Adkins covers Carpentersville, Huntley, the Dundees, Sleepy Hollow and Hampshire. To reach her, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (847) 608-2725.