CHICAGO – Gov. Blagojevich today applauded the impressive number of donations to this year’s Keep Our Kids Warm and Safe holiday campaign. In total, state employees, private citizens and corporate sponsors gave 47,676 items to this year’s campaign. This year also marked the first time state agencies competed to see who could generate the most donations. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) was this year’s winner, donating 2.4 gifts per person. The governor launched this winter’s Keep Our Kids Warm and Safe campaign at the December 1st holiday tree lighting in the Thompson Center.
“I am very proud of our state employees, many of whom gave generously to this year’s campaign,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “This month’s cold weather reminds us how critical it is for all children to have warm winter clothing. Even the smallest donations made a significant difference this winter season.”
Corporate sponsors also made generous donations to this year’s effort. Kohl’s department store provided 2,500 hats and gloves, 21st Century Insurance donated 500 car seats and will conduct free safety inspections, and U.S. Bank pledged $12,000 toward the purchase of winter clothing. U.S. Bank also placed collection boxes at all 113 Illinois branch locations.
Winter clothing donations from this year’s holiday campaign were distributed to 117 local charities across the state, from the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago to the Galesburg Rescue Mission to the Women’s Shelter in Cairo. Car seat donations will be distributed throughout the year to needy families with parents moving from welfare to work.
“We at IDES are delighted that our donations of 4,291 hats, scarves, and other cold weather items are keeping so many children warm during this wet and cold winter,” said Brenda A. Russell, director of this year’s winning agency. “Together we say thank you, Governor, for the recognition, because we give from the heart.”
IDES shared their gifts with the Heartland Alliance in Chicago, and Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul throughout the state. The governor will present a plaque to IDES to recognize their efforts.
The ongoing Keep Our Kids Warm and Safe campaign focuses on making child safety seats available to families who cannot afford them and providing new or gently used coats, mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves to needy Illinois children. Governor Blagojevich announced the start of the Keep Our Kids Warm and Safe campaign in December 2003.