Volunteers packed boxes of food with turkey and side dishes and then delivered them to families in need at Edgerton City Hall in the frigid days before Christmas. The subzero temps did not deter the holiday spirit in the final push of the annual Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund drive, which makes sure that Edgerton families in need have gifts and a meal for Christmas.
“We started this program more than a decade ago and it’s continued to grow,” says Mayor Donald Roberts. “I’ve been in homes that are dark and chilly because the people there are struggling just to pay bills, let alone afford Christmas gifts or a big holiday meal. My greatest holiday wish is that everyone in Edgerton would have enough to eat and never need our program, but until that wish comes true, we’re going to continue to help our neighbors.”
The volunteers who helped pack the meals and raise money throughout the year serve on the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund board. They also help Santa by dropping off all the goodies at the residents’ homes. It’s almost always a surprise when the Santa Crew stops by.
“Delivering meals last year was an eye-opening experience for me. I am honored to be part of this amazing program – the Mayors Christmas Tree Fund,” says Pam Andres, who leads the Edgerton Food Pantry and serves on the MCTF board. “I remember the smiles, hugs, and a few tears of joy when I arrived. My heart was touched. A perfect example of being a caring community, helping others during the holiday season.”
Families are nominated by other organizations in the community, like the Edgerton Food Pantry, churches, and schools. The program is designed specifically to catch families that may fall through the cracks of other holiday giving programs. This year, 60 children and 39 adults received help.
The Edgerton Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund also provides a small gift and a ham to as many senior citizens in the community as possible, roughly 120 individuals in 2022. The hams were donated by ColdPoint Logistics and delivered by the men and women at Johnson County Fire District #1.
“We’re extremely happy to be a part of the Mayor’s program. We’ve done it for several years and we’ll continue to do it for years to come. It’s all going to a good cause,” says Chief Dennis Meyers of Fire District #1. “Delivering the hams also provides our crews a good way to meet the people we serve when there’s not a fire or they need us for a medical call. It gives us a great opportunity to just be out in the neighborhoods.”
The Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund also helps families in crisis or with unexpected bills during the year. In the past, this has included renovations to a resident’s home after they were hospitalized. In 2022, the Fund helped a woman who couldn’t afford to pay for her husband’s funeral costs.
“This is what Christmas is all about – helping our neighbors and giving to others the gifts of joy and peace,” says Roberts.
The Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund solicits tax-deductible donations from local businesses, partner organizations, and the community. If you’d like to donate, go to edgertonks.org/holidays or stop by City Hall during regular business hours.