Grundy County Heroes and Helpers release 2023 applications for its annual Shop with a Local Hero

Officer Rodriguez of the Channahon Police Department helps Xavier try on shoes during Grundy County's Heroes and Helpers event on Saturday.

Grundy County Heroes & Helpers have released their 2023 Christmas Shop with a Local Hero application. Shop with a Hero is a one-day Christmas event hosted on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023. GCHH’s pairs local children residing in Grundy County with law enforcement, firefighters, EMT’s and military for a shopping trip to Walmart and a Christmas party that includes food, toys, and a visit and photo opportunity with Santa Clause.

Applications are available in a fillable digital format or downloaded PDF via Children must reside in Grundy County or attend a school in the county and be between the ages of 4 to 15. Parents fill out a detailed application and must be able to provide a narrative of a hardship their family has faced at some point in 2023. GGHH’s mission is to make the holidays a little brighter for families facing loss, trauma, financial restraints, medical concerns, and any other hardship that has been a burden on the family while also helping children develop positive interactions with local first responders and law enforcement.

This will be the fourth year that First Christian Church will be hosting the Christmas festivities, donating their space and providing several volunteer helpers. “As a church we had been looking for a way to get more involved in the community and this has given us that opportunity, we have a blast each year,” said First Christian Pastor Scott Zorn.

Children will meet at the church and be paired with a hero and volunteer helper and then transported Walmart where they will get to shop for clothes, coats, boots, and other essentials. Once checked out they will be treated to a toy shopping experience back at the church as well as be provided lunch.”

“Every year this event has grown due to the support of the community,” said Wendy Briley, GCHH President. “Each year we have been able to provide the experience for more children due to the generosity of individuals, businesses, and fundraisers we have throughout the year. From toys and financial donations to the number of volunteer hours people have been willing to give to support this event as we are now going on our 5th year has been nothing short of extraordinary.”

Applications are due November 15th and can be submitted online or mailed in.

GCHH volunteers will be hosting a toy drive at Walmart September 23 and 24th, any new, unwrapped toy donation is appreciated. GCHH’s will be hosting their 5th Annual Drawdown Fundraiser October 21 at the Gardner American Legion on October 21, 2023. Tickets available at All proceeds go towards 2023 Shop with a Local Hero.

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