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Joy! Lutheran Church in Gurnee receives Faithful Friend award from One Hope United

For at least the past ten years, Joy! Lutheran Church in Gurnee, Illinois, has partnered with One Hope United during the holiday season providing gifts for at least 100 children in the nonprofit’s care. In past years, Joy! Lutheran has provided gifts for as many as 300 children as well as 15 new bikes. In recognition of the church’s dedication to helping the children in the care of One Hope United, the agency has recognized Joy! Lutheran with the 2010 Faithful Friend award.

Mary Reiling has organized the gift drive at Joy! Lutheran benefiting One Hope United for the last five years.

“Joy! Lutheran Church’s participation in the holiday giving program was started by member Sandy Slusser,” said Reiling. “Sandy was the driving force behind Joy’s partcipating in the program until her death. Sandy’s incredible generosity is our inspiration to continue the program annually. It is truly a team effort by the congregation that allows us to reach out to the youth and families served by One Hope United through holiday giving.”

For the past three years, the church has sponsored 225 children during the holidays. Throughout 2010, the church even donated new books, pajamas and socks for each child that attends One Hope United’s Busy Bee Children’s Center in Waukegan, Illinois.

“We hope to continue this partnership to share the joy of the holidays for many years to come,” said Reiling.

Mary Reiling, left, looks at holiday wishes from One Hope United children on Joy! Lutheran’s giving tree with other members of the congregation.