Since 2018, United Way of Porter County, Meijer, Porter County School Districts and local law enforcement have been hosting holiday shopping excursions for students in need. Thanks to a Meijer $3,000 grant this year, Duneland School District and Hebron School District with the Hebron Police Department were able to shop on behalf of students and their families. Lists of children’s names and what they wanted for Christmas were provided. Toys and gadgets were common items, but some also asked for essentials like personal hygiene products, clothing, and shoes. There were four excursions – three for Duneland Schools and one for Hebron Schools. The Duneland excursions benefited students at Yost Elementary, Bailly Elementary and Westchester Immediate Schools.
“We love bringing caring people together to support the neediest in our community,” said Kim Olesker, president & CEO of United Way of Porter County. “This is just one way we connect community to help needy kids have a better Christmas.”
“It’s great to help kids in the area,” said Officer Ryan Banister of the Hebron Police Department. “For the last couple of years, I have helped mostly with the younger boys that are into the toys and are really excited about Legos, video games, and stuff like that. Seeing the smiles on their faces this time of year is nice, especially when it comes to underprivileged families.”
“Enriching the lives in the communities we serve is a foundation at Meijer,” said Lynda Farris, store director of Meijer in Valparaiso and United Way Board Member. “Whenever we have an opportunity to be involved in this type of event, we are always more than willing to support. We operate in the communities, we live in the communities, and we support our communities.”