Big Hearts of Fox Valley needs donations to help St. Charles District 303 families

Big Hearts of Fox Valley founders Jennifer and Minor Mobley.

Big Hearts of Fox Valley is in its 11th year of serving children within St. Charles School District 303, and with more families in need than ever before, the foundation is at risk of postponing vital community programs if more funding doesn’t come.

Big Hearts of Fox Valley is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in St. Charles, founded in 2014, that benefits District 303 children and families facing financial hardships. District 303 social workers and administrators work with Big Hearts to identify children in need.

Big Hearts was founded by Minor Mobley, a St. Charles resident, veteran and business owner, with his wife Jennifer, who is president and co-founder of the foundation. They have two children in District 303, and work year-round to support families in need.

Mobley said while everyone identifies the nonprofit with its Christmas sponsorship program, which is their longest-standing and biggest program, Big Hearts also has other programs that benefit students and families all year.

BHFV operates four programs every year; the Christmas Gift Sponsorship program, the Back to School program, Warm Coats Warm Hearts and Big Hearts Throughout the Year. BHFV exclusively serves D303 students, which includes children from St. Charles, and portions of Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, West Chicago, South Elgin, Campton Hills and unincorporated Kane County.

How the funds are used

Big Hearts Throughout the Year provides clothing, shoes, self care items, cleaning products and more, tailored to the needs of school district families throughout the year. The program was started in 2020, and Mobley said the number of families it serves has increased more than tenfold since the first year.

Big Hearts Throughout the Year uses monetary donations to purchase brand new items for students based on families’ needs. Mobley said the program alleviates a lot of pressure from low-income families, but is at risk of being postponed if they can’t raise more funds, which he said would be severely detrimental to the D303 families who need these services.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that we stay up and running. Our charity has to stay around.”

—  Minor Mobley, Big Hearts of Fox Valley founder

Warm Coats Warm Hearts provides hundreds of students with new winter coats each winter, and the Back to School program provides sturdy backpacks filled with essential items and utensils to support students in the classroom. Mobley said they only accept and donate brand new items curated by the team to ensure kids receive quality clothes and backpacks they will be proud to wear.

“We want to make sure that these kids have every opportunity to fit in with their peers and to be as proud and successful as they possibly can be,” Mobley said.

Big Hearts is entirely funded by donations, volunteers and sponsorships. Mobley said over the years hundreds of sponsors and thousands of volunteers have donated their time and money to District 303 children through Big Hearts’ various programs.

Volunteers keep it going

Mobley said the extreme generosity of their sponsors, executive committee members and volunteers is a big part of what makes the organization so special. He said while the amount of community support they receive each year hasn’t changed, the amount of D303 students in need has been increasing drastically, so in order to keep providing for everyone they can, they need to ramp-up donations.

Big Hearts of Fox Valley volunteers and executive committee members prepare holiday gifts from donated items in November 2023 at the Hearts Foundation, before they were distributed to 569 students in St. Charles School District 303.

Mobley said with rising costs of living and inflation making it harder for more and more families to support their kids, the need for the foundation has never been greater. Big Hearts Throughout the Year is the program most at risk of running out of funds.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that we stay up and running. Our charity has to stay around,” Mobley said. “The program [Big Hearts Throughout the Year] may go away for the year if we run out of budget, until we’re able to replenish funds to start helping again next year.”

Community members and business owners can support Big Hearts of Fox Valley by making monetary donations, volunteering their time, signing up to be sponsors or hosting collection boxes at their businesses.

The nonprofit recently moved to a new location at 720 N. 17th St. which has far less space in which to operate their larger fundraisers and donation drives. Mobley said they are looking for space to be donated, and if anyone in the community could provide 2,500 to 3,000 square feet, it would be a huge help in allowing them to continue hosting annual events to support the children.

Upcoming community events

Community members can also support Big Hearts by attending fundraising opportunities and events the foundation will be hosting throughout the rest of the year in hopes of ramping-up donations.

Big Hearts of Fox Valley board member Jill Caccia and co-founder Minor Mobley at the concert in the park event in Lincoln Park in St. Charles on June 27, 2024.

Next month, Big Hearts representatives will be at St. Charles’ Concert in the park on Aug. 8 engaging with the community.

Big Hearts will be collaborating with Alter Brewing in St. Charles to host fundraising events on Aug. 8 and Nov. 11, where $1 of every drink sold will go to BHFV.

Every Wednesday in September, Polyanna Brewing will host charity bike rides, where a portion of each bike ride will be donated to Big Hearts.

On Sept. 28, Fox River Harley Davidson in St. Charles will be hosting a fundraiser car show from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., where all entry fees and a portion of food, drink and raffle ticket sales will go to Big Hearts.