What sparked the idea to start the Christmas Gifts for Children in need at St. Charles School District 303?
Jennifer Mobley: In 2014 when we opened Excel Automotive Repair. We wanted to find a way to give back to our community and helping kids was a good way for us to get involved in The community and give back.
How many years have you been doing it?
Jennifer Mobley: We started the Christmas sponsorship in 2014 so this will be our 6th year that we sponsored kids in district 303. 5th year with the wrapping party.
Since starting, how much increase in community Involvement and participation have you seen over the years?
Jennifer Mobley: When we first started sponsoring children we had very little community participation. Over the years it’s grown quite a bit actually. Last year was our biggest with 600 community volunteers and 65 businesses sponsoring with St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina’s office and city cooperation including city police department, fire department and city works.
You also named your organization Big Hearts of Fox Valley this year. How did you decide on the name?
Jennifer Mobley: Last year we had big heart sponsors for those sponsoring 10 or more children and it just seemed fitting to name it Big Hearts of Fox Valley.
Big Hearts of Fox Valley also recently received 501(c)3 status by the State of Illinois. How hard was the process to become an official designated non-profit?
Jennifer Mobley: Getting our 501(c)3 status took less time than expected. We had letters of recommendation from school officials from district 303 as well as a letter of recommendation from the St. Charles Mayor. It took about 60 days to get our official 501(c)3 status.
What’s are your organization’s goals for 2019?
Jennifer Mobley: I think the goals for this year were to include all of the middle school students in District 303 in need of sponsorship sponsored and getting 501(c)3 status. In previous years, we had done just the elementary school children.
Will you be expanding the program into other school districts?
Jennifer Mobley: We have a 5 year plan in place to be able to put this program into other school districts in the Fox Valley Area. Our focus for now is to help the children of D303 not only for Christmas but in other ways next year. This program was made with growth in mind with our process being pretty cookie cutter so we could expand to other schools. In order to grow we would also need a liaison from each additional school district to participate and work under the Big Hearts of Fox Valley umbrella.
Any exciting plans or will you be having any additional new events in 2020?
Jennifer Mobley: I think the big plan for 2020 is to find a way to help the high school kids. We will be working with school officials and students from each high school to implement the program.
For companies and anyone reading this, how can they become a sponsor or volunteer?
Jennifer Mobley: Go to Big Hearts of Fox Valley website bigheartsfv.org and hit the sponsorship button. You can also get info on sponsorship and volunteering opportunities on our Facebook page as well.