Submitted by Maria Pirita
According to Maria Pirita, client coordinator at Animal Hospital of Lake Villa, the staff at the hospital loves to be involved in the community, so every year they have their annual Bake Sale and Craft Fair.
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"We get a lot of donations from staff members and clients," Pirita said. "Anything from cookies and brownies to handmade wreaths and knitted scarves."
Money raised usually goes to a local animal shelter or rescue. But at the most recent event, held in December, most of the proceeds went to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
"It is a touching story and actually a little hard for me to talk about," Pirita said. "Back in August, my fiance committed suicide. Not only was he my fiance, but he was also brother to our own staff member Chris. He was also a long-time family friend of Dr. McGinniss.
"His death, it really hit us all so hard. Not only was business down, but there was just sadness felt throughout the hospital. He really was a big part of our family, even though he didn't even work here.
"Dr. McGinniss thought it would be nice if this year's craft fair donation went to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention," Pirita said. "We were able to raise nearly $500. It may not seem like much, but for a small hospital like ours, we felt a little proud."
Pictures taken with "Santa McGinniss" also brought in more than $100 for local pet shelter Petropolis.
"We started collecting blankets, toys, and dog treats/food as well to donate to all the local shelters," Pirita said.
"We had a lot of success with that as well. All of that is really just donations from our clients and staff members. At the end of the year we split it all up and donate them to the shelters in need. It's something that our staff really enjoyed doing and benefited the community."
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