Fox Lake-Round Lake Rotary Club to host children's holiday party
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 to resources for either have been invited to a special holiday party on Sunday hosted by the Fox Lake-Round Lake Area Rotary Club.
As many as 350 local children will gather at YMCA Camp Duncan in Ingleside for the annual George Watson Children's Holiday Party, eating breakfast and lunch, receiving presents and getting some time with Santa.
The children, ranging from kindergartners to fifth-graders, were chosen by their school districts as students in need of warm clothes.
Bobby Thomas, executive director at Camp Duncan and YMCA Camp Independence, said the students were asked for their coat size, sock size and a toy they want. Children will receive these things, along with one stocking filled with toiletries and another stocking filled with candy.
"It's something that is really necessary around this time of year," Thomas said. "It's fine to want to donate to nationwide organizations, but you rarely see it make an impact on people that live next to you. It's a great community event."
The event has been held for about 20 years, but last year and this year's methods were altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, presents were delivered to 400 kids. This year's event will be held in person again, but with social distancing in mind. Everyone will be required to wear masks.
Ted Beskow, president of the local Rotary Club, said about $23,000 is spent every year on gifts.
"There's a lot of fulfillment to be had from doing this," Beskow said. "These kids are happy to get sweatshirts or new socks. When they are as excited for that as when they get a new toy, it really shows how much they appreciate it."