CHAMPAIGN, Ill., (WCIA) — Patience Dupree was one of the hundreds waiting in line for over an hour at Garden Hills Elementary School in Champaign on Saturday, all in anticipation of the goods we need over the holiday season.
21 organizations came together all working toward the same goal — helping and supporting families throughout the Champaign-Urbana area.
About 600 people were flowing in and waiting in line as if it was the most popular ride at the carnival. Organizers had to cut people off a little early but said they wanted to help everyone they could.
“We’re in the season of giving and we want families to see that,” Brindeshie McClain with the Wayne McClain Foundation, said. She grew up volunteering, passing out turkeys with her family on Thanksgiving.
Now, she’s one of many keeping the tradition alive.
The nearly two dozen community partners worked to pass out winter coats, hats, gloves, household items and turkeys.
“It’s such a blessing and it makes your heart feel well,” Cornicha Henderson, DREAMM Associate Program Director, said. “The Champaign-Urbana community needs to know that we are a community here to help support and serve each other.”
And for Dupree, she said she’s thankful for someone who cares.
“A lot of people can not afford coats and afford certain things, so it’s a very powerful thing to be doing,” Dupree said.
She brought home a turkey, but also hats and scarves for her three boys.
“I know when I take these home to them they’re gonna be super happy,” she added.
Mariah Gomed was there with her family and friends. She got a new pink and purple winter coat.
And, she got a new decoration for her bedroom, a caricature.
“I didn’t even think you could actually do that. And he actually did it perfectly. And I’m thankful for what he did for me,” Gomed said.
Four different groups including the DREAMM, Team, the Wayne McClain Foundation, the Hoyce Center and Foster Grandparents, teamed up to organize the variety of community partners.
“We wanted to have as much as we could so that we could help however many people came through the doors,” McClain said.