Last updated 1/21/2023 at 7:16pm

On Friday, December 16 and Saturday, December 17 Niles Family Services (NFS) hosted its first "Winter Wonderland" event. Instead of NFS's traditional Adopt-A-Family initiative-in which Village Departments or members of the community would purchase toys, gift cards and other gifts to give to a specific family-this year a festive marketplace was set up on the second floor of the Human Services building in celebration of the holidays.

Over 145 kids and their families were invited to come and take a holiday photo and "shop" for their loved ones throughout several rooms stocked with donated toys and gifts. Kids picked out gifts to give to their parents, and parents could shop for gifts for their children. The gifts available for selection were free-of-charge to participants, and were donated by area businesses and other members of the Niles community. After picking out gifts, kids were able to enjoy some holiday treats and make crafts and ornaments.

Volunteers from all over Niles helped with this event. Niles Senior Center and Village of Niles staff volunteers helped kids wrap their handpicked gifts to surprise their parents. Niles Police Explorers helped families get a holiday photo at the "North Pole," and the Fire Explorers led kids through an obstacle course. Overall, over 80 volunteers came out to help make this holiday a memorable one for families in Niles.

"It is important to build bridges throughout our community," said Niles Mayor George D. Alpogianis, "and especially important during this beautiful time of year to look out for those around us who are in need. Everyone in Niles should be proud of this Winter Wonderland event, knowing that we are a model community that takes care of each other-not only for essential needs like food and shelter, but through the opportunity to lift up and share joy with one another."

Niles Family Services is grateful for the support of Notre Dame College Prep, Reyes Coca-Cola, CityLine Church, and Village of Niles employees that all went above and beyond to make the holidays special for so many families in Niles this year.



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