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Monday, 10 August 2020 20:10

IL 'Community Christmas'-Related Event Raises Thousands of Dollars Despite Pandemic

Written by Jill Moon, The Telegraph
Taylor Freer, 16, hands a prepared lunch for carry out to a friend and helper at this year’s "Christmas in July" fundraiser, held annually at Freer Auto Body in Godfrey, IL.  Taylor Freer, 16, hands a prepared lunch for carry out to a friend and helper at this year’s "Christmas in July" fundraiser, held annually at Freer Auto Body in Godfrey, IL. 

This year’s "Christmas in July" raised $26,700 for the nonprofit "Community Christmas" area-wide event that starts in November.

“It is with a very grateful heart that we raised the funds with donations, which are still coming in,” said Margaret Freer of Freer’s Auto Body, where the summer fundraiser originated and held each year in Godfrey, IL. “We ran out of food---Margaret Freer never runs out of food. I would never have guessed with COVID-19 that we would have had the crowd and the success we had.”

 

The Freer family, along with the sisters’ friends, normally serve the sloppy Joes, bag of chips and a beverage to people who stop by during the one-day event for lunch, although plenty have ordered carry out in past years, too. Lunch is provided for a donation to the whole Community Christmas cause.

 

This year, all orders were carry out only on July 31. All proceeds go to help those in need.

 

Freer Auto Body’s owners began the lighthearted event 12 years ago, when it was founded at the behest of Freer’s granddaughters, Taylor, 16, and Lily Freer, 13, as part of United Way and The Telegraph’s Community Christmas, which raises money and collects new items for families in need. New toys, personal items and non-perishables, either through donations or purchased with the money raised, are distributed through a network of businesses, groups and volunteers at Christmastime.

 

Pre-pandemic past Christmas in Julys have raised approximately $40,000 each year during the past few summers.

 

“We truly have the best friends, customers and family ever, who always step up to the plate and help out,” Margaret Freer said. “We are grateful and amazed. This was all done during a pandemic without our usual raffle. There will be a lot of happy kids this Christmas.”

 

The Freers also take time to shop sales each year for needed items, such as coats, hats, gloves, toys and personal items.

 

“We have been shopping sales all year for needed items,” Freer explained. “We are truly blessed and are so grateful for a giving community.”

 

Hopefully by the time Christmas comes, celebrating will be closer to normal. But in the meantime, families in need still rely on Community Christmas.

 

”We know this is a rough time, but if you would still like to donate to Community Christmas you can,” she said. “We are accepting cash donations, as well. We have always appreciated the support from the community and lots will need help this year at Christmas with the pandemic.“

 

We thank The Telegraph for reprint permission.  

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