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Children’s Christmas Spree is right around the corner

Spree Organizers and a crew of helpers prepare for the first drive through Spree in 2020. Pictured left to right are Martha Young, Mary Loveless, Mary Beasley, Eleanor Harms, Denise Joiner, Janelle Chizmar, Brandee Bloome and Missie Snider. Photo provided.


Many changes are in place this year, that include more children, a choice of shopping times, and a chance to shop with a child or for a child. Organizer Mary Beasley assures that “change is a good thing for volunteers and children alike.”

The Federated Church has sponsored the Children’s Christmas Spree since 1981. Over the years, the event has grown and many changes have been implemented. This year will be a new experience in that shoppers will pick a time slot and decide whether to shop with or for a child.

School nurses, Lydia Miller and Whitney Roberts, have selected 175 children to participate in the Spree. The children and their families have prepared Wish Lists itemizing the needs and wishes of the children. Volunteer shoppers will use the list to guide purchases of clothes, shoes, coats and perhaps a gift or two.

“Whether the volunteer shops with or for a child, the wish list is very helpful,” said Eleanor Harms.

Volunteers will come to the Federated Church. Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Volunteers will drive through the east parking lot. Shoppers at noon Saturday and Sunday will meet in the sanctuary and then be introduced to their child. All volunteers will receive instructions and Wish Lists and cash for shopping.

Brandee Bloome, organizer, explained that all shopping is done in Carlinville and that local merchants offer generous discounts to Spree shoppers. Several restaurants offer treats to Spree shoppers.

Donations to fund the Children’s Christmas Spree may be sent or delivered to CNB Bank & Trust, P.O.Box 350, Carlinville, IL 62626. $150 will sponsor a child. Contributions of any amount are welcome.

The organizers encourage everyone to sign up or donate by Dec. 7 so that everything will be in place for the Spree event on Saturday, Dec. 10 and Sunday, Dec. 11. The magic of the Spree is only possible because of the time volunteers donate for shopping and because of the cash donations made to fund the event. For more information or to sign up as a volunteer, contact one of the organizers Mary Beasley (217-710-7305), Charlene Genta (217-473-9048), Eleanor Harms (217-851-0075) (text), or Martha Young (217-825-3725).