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Bolingbrook nonprofit, Meijer take 50 children shopping with Santa

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013 10:26 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013 10:31 a.m. CDT
Erica Jennifer Sanneman takes her children Jaden and Joshua Christmas shopping at Meijer with the help of members of the Bolingbrook Fire Department, including Lt. John Merino, as part of the 4 Kids Sake program on Friday.
Erica Andrew James Gilligan of Bolingbrook shops alongside his mother Jenny andBolingbrook Fire Department Lt. John Merino at Meijer as part of the 4 Kids Sake program.
Erica Kristina Douglas of Bolingbrook picks out toys at Meijer with the help of Santa and Lt. John Merino on Friday.

BOLINGBROOK – Santa came early for 50 local children on Dec. 20.

Bolingbrook-based nonprofit 4 Kids Sake partnered with Meijer, 225 Weber Road, to host its second annual “Shopping with Santa."

With support from the Bolingbrook Fire Department and several volunteers, Santa Claus led 50 underprivileged children on $100 shopping sprees through the department store.

Meijer donated the money to each child, who could spend up to $100 in the store.

In just one year since the inaugural event, 4 Kids Sake doubled the participant total, increasing from 25 to 50.

Founder of 4 Kids Sake, Executive Director and Bolingbrook resident Theresa Grzenia explained that Shopping with Santa not only embodies the Christmas spirit but also the organization’s mission.

“The Christmas season is such an important time of the year for children, and every child deserves to have a memorable Christmas,” Grzenia said. “Giving back and putting a smile on each child’s face is what Christmas is about, it’s what we are about as an organization.”

A community service organization dedicated to helping kids who “fall through the cracks” and do not meet the criteria of other charitable organizations, Grzenia established 4 Kids Sake during her freshman year at the University of Kentucky.

Since its inception in 2012, 4 Kids Sake has led a bike drive, an anti-bullying campaign at Jane Addams Middle School, volunteered at local hospitals and ran a school supply drive.

Additionally, 4 Kids Sake volunteers have assisted in St. Baldricks, Romeoville High School Homecoming, fundraisers for local sports teams and participated in several HeartHaven Outreach events.

“4 Kids Sake is always looking to undertake new projects and initiatives,” Grzenia said. “As an organization, we are always looking for new ideas and opportunities. Wherever we see the need, that’s where we want to be.”

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