McLean County, Ill. (WMBD) — A Facebook group with more than 16,000 members is doing its best to make sure everyone receives a gift this holiday season. We’re In This Together Bloomington/Normal is a Facebook group created at the start of the pandemic.
“We are not a social service agency. We are just a Facebook group of people that really care about their neighbors,” said owner of the group Suzanne Kelley.
The purpose of the group was to help people in the community survive by donating and swapping basic essentials. Now they are continuing that mission for the holidays.
“There’s so much not caring and kindness in the world. Sometimes you see a lot of that on social media. And for our group to see so much people just giving. People that don’t have to give are giving what they have,” Kelley said.
Kelley along with Candace Swenson collected began collecting items like toys, clothes and household items December 2021. After Swenson died earlier this month Kelley recruited other members in the group to help.
After awhile storage space was getting tight. So, YouthBuild McLean County stepped up offering storage and event space.
“We love to partner with community groups who are supporting activities and services that support our students and their families. Many of our students can really resonate with their parents not getting gifts at Christmas or even them not getting gifts at Christmas,” said Executive Director Tracey Polson.
Everything will be passed out to the community Dec. 3 beginning at 8 a.m. at YouthBuild McLean County. There will be gifts for all ages.
“We’re so excited to see all of the fruits and labor come to fruition as we set up and as we’re able to just sit back and take a breath to say, ‘Wow. We did this,'” said group admin Jennifer Homan.