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Charitable Outreach 

Have you ever wanted to involve your family in more charitable activities but didn't know how to start? Would you like to enrich your family's life by learning more about global issues?

The Charitable Committee is seeking volunteers for small tasks throughout the year, most of which can be done on a flexible schedule. Even if you don’t have time to volunteer, you can still sign up to purchase items, provide holiday gifts for needy families, or help out with donations. 

Let's do it together!

Last year was our second for the Emerson Charitable Outreach Committee and we accomplished a lot! Some of the things we did were:

  • Trick or Treat for UNICEF
  • Coat drive
  • Care packages for soldiers
  • Annie Ryan Fun Run
  • Ongoing donation boxes for items like shoes,
    cell phones, pop tops, eye glasses.

While we do plan to repeat many, we’re looking for fresh ideas, especially projects that directly involve our kids. 

Charitable Outreach Committee

The Charitable Outreach Committee goals:

  1. To raise a generation of givers - children who are aware of public service and its impact on the community.
  2. To unite our school community through charitable efforts.

Now in our third year, we have a renewed commitment to projects that directly involve the kids, not just parents. New members are always welcome. More parents in leadership roles means more completed projects and more incorporation of service into our children’s daily lives.

Last year we completed the following projects and intend to repeat them again this year:

• Established drop boxes near the school office for ongoing collection:

  • Cell phones for domestic violence
  • Shoes for Share Your Soles
  • Pop tops for recycling (money benefits Emerson)
  • Batteries for recycling
  • Eyeglasses for Lions Club
  • Box Tops for Education (money benefits Emerson)

• Launched a coat drive. We collected hundreds of coats from Emerson families and gave them away over three days. When the supply of gently used-coats ran low, some community members contributed new coats. Need exists in Elmhurst and we can do something about it...without monetary donations.

•  Participated in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. Emerson kids received UNICEF collection boxes to take trick-or-treating, or simply have their parents empty their change jars. We advertised the program at Fall Fest, talked to children over lunch hours and encouraged them to donate part of their allowance (which many did). We raised more than $1,200 in this our first year.  More than $700 of that was in change! For more information go to There are lots of other great programs on the site.

• Emerson participated in the United Community Concerns annual food drive sponsored by District 205.

• Our committee sponsored 10 families (some with as many as 10 family members) through Elmhurst-based United Community Concerns. Through this great program, families in need are matched with those willing to fulfill their children’s holiday needs/wishes. Some families just asked for clothes, others for simple toys (dollar amounts are restricted). We hosted a holiday party for dropping off the gifts and to re-cap our year thus far. For more information on United Community Concerns and its annual food drive and holiday program, contact Mary Jo Corbett at

• In January and February, we put together military care packages in honor of Joe Vanek, a former Emerson student that was killed in Iraq in 2007. Each classroom had a parent leader that customized a box or two for an Illinois soldier that is currently deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Children drew pictures, wrote notes, made Valentines or whatever that specific class determined. We obtained names by asking the community and contacting the Illinois USO. Our final tally was more than 100 boxes that went to soldiers around the world, mostly those on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can send a package anytime by contacting or also by doing to

• Two Emerson traditions not directly sponsored by the Charitable Outreach Committee happen in February and April. In February, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students participate in Jump Rope for Heart to benefit the American Heart Association (event in coordinated by Tammy Henderson, Emerson's physical education teacher). Then in April, Emerson participates in the St. Jude’s Math-a-Thon. Both are great causes. To learn more go to and search for Jump Rope for Heart or

• We resurrected an Emerson tradition by participating in the Annie Ryan Fun Run. This Elmhurst-based run/walk event is held in May and benefits the Midwest Children’s Brain Tumor Center at Lutheran General Hospital. Annie Ryan was the daughter of Marie Ryan who runs our Emerson Rec Station program. Go to for more info. In Emerson fashion, we came out in full-force. We received honors for the school with the most participants. Way to go Eagles!

We have lots of great ideas for this year and are looking for new members to help us make it happen!  If you have any ideas on how to bring charity and public service into our children’s day to day lives, please contact Tonja Pastorelle at

President's message

A special thank you to The Vitogiannis Family for providing lunch for our Emerson staff and teachers last week for Teacher Appreciation Week.  Everyone raved about it!  If you’d like to try it for yourself here is their address in... Continue »

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