Looking to spread a little holiday cheer beyond your own family and friends?
Local charities offer a few ways to pitch in, from toy collections to lunch with Santa and free photos with Marines.
Saturday: 4 Paws For Ability
Planning to send holiday cards featuring the family and Fido? Bring your pets to a holiday photo session, which will also help the family of Nate Kothera, a 6-year-old with Down syndrome and leukemia, raise $13,000 to get a service dog.
All pets are welcome from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at , 23907 W. Industrial Drive North. The $25 fee includes a CD with jpeg images. All the money raised at the photo shoot will be donated to 4 Paws for Ability in Nate Kothera’s name. For more details, call 815-302-8143 or visit www.whosaluckydog.com.
Through Sunday: Church’s Giving Tree
Gifts will be collected until 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the church, 15629 S. Route 59, for the annual Giving Tree program, which distributes more than 1,000 gifts to organizations serving disadvantaged families, including the , Lakewood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Rosewood Care Center, Catholic Charities Daybreak and Guardian Angel Home.
Wish lists and tags for Adopt-A-Family and individuals are available. Cash, check and gift card donations are welcome. For more details, call Nancy Sinclair at 815-577-5309 or visit www.smip.org.
Select Saturdays & Ongoing: U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots
Through Dec. 15, the is accepting toys at four fire stations: Fire Station One at 14415 S. Coil Plus Drive; Fire Station Two at 23806 W. 135th St.; Fire Station Three at 25001 W. 119th St.; and Fire Station Four at 15930 S. Frederick St.
Toys also may be dropped off at the District Administration and Training Facility at 23748 W. 135th St. from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and at the C.W. Avery YMCA, 15120 S. Wallin Drive.
Donated toys need to be new and in original packaging, not gift-wrapped. Stuffed animals or stuffed toys will not be accepted.
Also benefitting Toys for Tots will be lunch with Santa and free photos with uniformed Marines from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 11 at , 13717 U.S. 30. The pizza lunch buffet costs $7 for adults, $5 for children. Reservations are requested.
The free photos are provided by the , which is located next to Rosal’s and is a Toys for Tots drop-off location. For more details, call 815- 553-2644 or visit www.facebook.com/miltonagency.
Another toy collection site is , 16140 S. Lincoln Highway. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. The dealership will offer free photos with Santa from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 17. For more details, call 815-436-2071 or go to www.billjacobsplainfield.com.
To register your child as a Toys for Tots recipient, contact Marco at the Joliet Boys and Girls Club, 815-723-3434.
For more information about Toys for Tots, visit www.toysfortots.org.
Plainfield Central High School Parent Teacher Student Organization’s Christmas Drive is soliciting monetary donations to provide holiday meals and gifts for more than 40 families are being accepted for the 19th annual drive. Donations may be mailed to the attention of Audrey Stein, PTSO Needy Family Drive, Campus, 24120 W. Fort Beggs Drive, Plainfield, IL 60544. Donations are accepted year round. For more information, call 815-436-3200.
The , 23162 W. Lincoln Highway, is working with the Salvation Army to find people willing to adopt "angels" through its Angel Giving Tree who will provide Christmas presents for a local child. They nine children who are awaiting to be adopted. To sign up or for more information, go to http://angel.jcpenney.com/angeltree/GroupReport.aspx?GroupID=1298.
Is your group doing something and it's not on this list? Post the details in the comment box below.