December 23, 2019

Dear Neighbor,
On behalf of the Batavia United Way Board of Directors I wanted to take this opportunity to recap what our community and neighbors have accomplished in a mere 30 days.
As the person who oversees ALL of our collective holiday efforts, it is beyond humbling and somewhat miraculous to see the generosity, compassion and attention to detail delivered this holiday season.
Literally hundreds of people played a part in three major Christmas projects orchestrated by Batavia United Way- and I would like to share just a few of the highlights. Lengthy I know, but this is simply because there is so much to share!
Adopt A Family – A big thank you to BPS101 staff for their efforts in screening 129 families and obtaining wish lists for 298 kids this year. This simply does not happen at all school districts; we really are among greatness! This was managed, always with a smile ad hug, by Amy Nelson from the district office. 
Austin Dempsey and Brad Schreiner from BEI provided us with a beautiful and spacious temporary venue to host Adopt A Family and the team of Sandra Acosta and Sue and Tim Beckers made our space festive and welcoming. 
Special thanks to Batavia Container for providing us with boxes and to the Milligan family who, for the 5 th straight year, worked tirelessly on many aspects of this project.
The Adopt a Family project was filled with many miracles this year. During the home stretch when we thought funds designated to support sponsors with high need families would be completely depleted, Batavia Women In Business rallied with cash. A generous family “dropped by” with a $600 donation to help and The Impastato Family used their Nike connection to give nine high school students fantastic pairs of new shoes that they wished for. 
The Batavia Library and The Holmstad organized drives to provide extra gifts for us to distribute and of course there was that wonderful Underwear Party hosted by the Batavia Lions Club! Batavian Becky Hooper organized the Lions Club donation of hundreds of pairs of socks and underwear by size and gender, for easy matching to families.
Several of our adopted families noted the need for a bed on their wish list this year and Chip IN helped find several. One of our Sponsors however, QT9 Software in Aurora, wanted to take care of his adopted family himself. QT9 Software generously purchased two queen beds and all the trimmings and it was delivered directly to the family. We told him this was not necessary, but he could not be swayed! Amazing!
One of our families received a new bike from their sponsor and another 5 bike requests were referred to the Batavia Bike Commission who accommodated each one.
All kids received beautiful stockings from the Batavia Women’s Club and of course a full bag of fresh produce and bread from Chip In. Our community rallied and also provided each family with a bag of non-perishables including laundry detergent, toilet paper and other essentials!
Batavia Youth Baseball took the lead in providing donated gift cards, with the Medernach Saturday bowling league and Malm Family right behind them, among others!
The list goes on and as mentioned, we had so much support it is impossible to name everyone… and still keep you reading!  Following are three notes we received from adopted families that we convey gratitude in their own words.

Dear my Children’s Secret Santa,
I am very humbled and grateful for the kindness you have bestowed on me and my children.I cnnot express what an amazing gift you have given to us. I am a single mom and would never have been able to touch the amount you have given my kids. Because of YOU, my children will have a Christmas to remember. You nailed it! I hope one day I can pay it forward just like you. What an amazing person you are!

Dear Sponsor!
Thank you for the amazing gifts that you have chosen for my family. You made me and my family feel so special! I know that you spent time, effort and energy to make sure it was awesome. You also knocked my socks off with those gift cards!

Dear Sponsor,
I just wanted to let you know OMG my daughter and I have never had such nice coats (daughter has not seen hers yet and I’m not going to lie, I told her she is getting things from this program). I wasn’t expecting brand new things and it has been a long time since I could buy something new for either of us. Daughter never has brand name things like this. When I can and have money, maybe next year I can contribute.

Whether you rallied co-workers, a scout troop, your own family, purchased 2 gifts to help out or purchased for multiple children, THANK YOU! Together, we accomplished great things!

Adopt A Senior –
Eighty-eight residents of Riverain Senior HUD Housing were gifted overflowing bags of groceries, homemade cookies and treats in addition to a complimentary, made to order omlete bar and brunch. Debbie Rymut and friends organized donated bag contents and Cindy Allen provided the back up needed to deliver a festive morning and holiday celebration to a grateful crowd. With 15 grocery bags to spare, we contacted Batavia RSVP and John Dillon and Gregg Hodge delivered them to seniors who remain in their own homes.
Clearly, we will never know the names of all who dropped off donations at our  Batavia Chamber of Commerce  and  Insurance & Dealer Services  drop boxes over the course of the last month. Thank you, whoever you may be! We do know, and thank,  Barco Products Flexco  and  Flinn Scientific  for organizing at work drives for us. And once again, the UBS team rallied for our local seniors! Thank you Debbie and Cindy for caring for this lovely group of Batavia residents and for making so many spirits bright!

Northern Illinois Academy is a residential facility for kids 8-18 who have such emotional issues they cannot live at home. Many are wards of the state and only a few are from Batavia. Batavia Schools however, asked Batavia United Way for help in bringing Christmas cheer to the 88 kids who live at NIA, which is just over the Batavia border. A conversation with Leslie Jurgen of Fresh Thyme corporate digital marketing led to her securing a $1000 donation of $10 gift cards from their parent, Meijer. NIA kids will be able to have a life skills field trip to Meijer and have their own $10 to spend as they choose and they will experience the joy of shopping. Excess gift cards were used, in conjunction with donations from Batavian Danni Short, to provide a goody bag for each NIA student. Batavia Mothers Club donated hundreds of beanie babies to our holiday program, and we had enough to provide for the NIA kids as well. Thanks to Leslie and Danni, we were able to bring a fabulous gift to NIA kids without using any Batavia United Way funds to do so. Thank you for this great effort!

Last, it should be mentioned that outside of our Christmas projects, Batavia United Way initiated a Double Your Donation mail campaign this season. Baird & Warner/Diane Anderson, A Accurate Door, Dr. Ron Murphy, DDS and an anonymous donor pledged to match donations dollar for dollar to a $10,000 cap. All proceeds go right back into our community to support 18 area non profits that help Batavians.
We are pleased to report………we have exceeded all expectations and the challenge was a tremendous success. Thank you for every dollar donated and to these incredible partners!

In closing, the very core and heart of Batavia United Way is it’s working Board of Directors and the many volunteers who support us. Their gifts of time, energy, creativity and compassion for our community are truly a force to be reckoned with.  To my Board and all who supported our holiday projects…….have a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for good health and happiness in the year ahead.

Executive Director
Melinda Kintz

Matt Novak, BFC printing
Vice President
Lisa Farley, Accurate Door
Lisa Clark, Batir Architecture Ltd
Ryan Fasshauer, CFO Convenience Concepts

Kari Edwards, KWR Realtor
Kathy Evangelista, Professor, Elmhurst College
Pam Kent, Insurance and Dealer Services
Lisa Hillquist, Batavia Public Schools
Cecelia Hoffman, Batavia Public Schools
Christina Marotta - Volunteer
Cindy Morgan - Volunteer
Kristen Ott, Dunaway Brothers, Inc.
Rick Pumo, President, Illinois Health Insurance Services
Patricia Richardson – CFO Aurora Township

Volunteer Office Manager: Rosemarie Dillon