Wauconda library collecting hats, gloves for needy residents
Lost-and-found boxes at public libraries typically are filled with gloves, hats and other belongings people accidentally leave behind.
This month, however, the staff at the Wauconda Area Library hopes patrons will deliberately exit the facility with fewer garments than they had on arrival.
A 9-foot artificial tree dubbed the Giving Tree has been set up near the main entrance of the library, 801 N. Main St. Visitors are encouraged to hang new or unused gloves, hats, scarves and warm socks on the tree. At the end of the month, the items will be delivered to the Wauconda/Island Lake Food Pantry and then donated to people in need.
"We are hoping the tree gets absolutely filled with cold-weather accessories," library program coordinator Ashley Johnson said.
The library staff was inspired to erect the tree by a similar display at an Indiana library, Johnson said. Winter accessories certainly are a "hot commodity" in the Chicago area this time of year, she said.
It's also an opportunity for parents to talk with their kids about generosity, Johnson said.
"And why not let it be to the benefit of our area's food pantry and our community?" she said.
The display ties into the library's winter reading program, which starts Jan. 1 and has a component related to giving, Johnson said.
"We thought this would be a nice addition to our overall winter theme of kindness and giving," she said.
Items for adults and children can be donated. Patrons can hang donations on the tree themselves or hand items to a staffer who will find places for them.
The tree was the centerpiece of a different display in November. Throughout the month, library visitors hung on the tree photographs of relatives who served in the military.
More than 75 photos were attached to what the library staff called their Heroes Tree. Photos of a World War I first lieutenant, a World War II sergeant and veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars were among those on display.
Most of those pictures will be saved and displayed again next year with any new photos, Johnson said.
Aside from donating to the giving tree, anyone who wants to make a cash gift to the food pantry can do so by calling (847) 526-8684. Donations also can be mailed to: The Wauconda/Island Lake Food Pantry, P.O. Box 255, Wauconda, IL, 60084.