3 ways to support local families in need in Lake County

It’s that time of year where every charitable group has a giving tree or some variation where you can shop for or donate to those in need. A favorite memory of mine is picking an angel off the tree in the mall and carefully picking out the gifts that would go to our angel child that year.



If you are looking for new charities that are doing great things for Lake County kids, consider this your virtual angel tree. Pick one that suits you or your family’s tastes and make the holidays brighter for a child in need.

The Book Bridge

The Book Bridge’s mission is to put books in the hands of kids in crisis. Started by a Grayslake mom as a family holiday project, they do more than just collect books and dump them at facilities. They match books that have been donated or purchased with wish lists from the kids themselves.

They also work with centers such as Allendale Association and ChildServ and create bags for families that have been separated within the legal system. The bags provide adults with books and early learning activities they can use to engage with kids that may have been estranged from their parent or parents.

Show your support:

Now through Dec. 31 they are hosting a Book Drive at Barnes & Noble Vernon Hills (Westfield Hawthorn). Books from the children’s wish lists are on display making it easy to grab one while you’re holiday shopping.

Visit the Grayslake Heritage Center & Museum and vote for The Book Bridges Giving Tree. You can also choose wishes from the children off the tree for specific books they are hoping for these season.

Shop the center’s wish lists from the comfort of your home through Amazon. Orders are shipped right to the center so you can do the whole thing from your couch!

Locals can donate books in the blue box outside the volunteer center.

Twice as Nice Mother and Baby

Mom of five, Anne Marie Matthies, couldn’t imagine how overwhelming it would be to not have the basics you need to care for your child. She founded Twice as Nice in 2010 to “help restore stability and hope during challenging times” and ensure that families wouldn’t go without. She works with various organizations to identify families in need.

Show your support:

Host a diaper drive. 1 in 3 families has a need for more diapers. We’ve done this in our own home in lieu of gifts for birthdays and it’s a very tangible way for kids to see that they are helping.

Donate gently used items. Many families are in critical need of winter items, such as winter coats for newborns and maternity coats in all sizes. Car seats and playards are highly sought after, too.

Families Helping Families Chicago

I don’t remember how I discovered Families Help Families, but it’s an amazing group of North Shore and southern Lake County women who organize different projects for children in need in the area. They work heavily with the foster care community providing resources to families as well as sponsoring a monthly birthday list. This season they have already provided gifts to 448 children.

Show your support:

The group is currently organizing a blessing bag family project where families will put together bags of needed items for local shelters and are looking for donations of birthday presents for January birthdays.

Please keep these groups in mind this season and help make the holidays brighter for Lake County children.

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