They're a group of kids with a common goal: help out their community however they can.
"It's just a really fun environment," said group member Sara Killackey.
"...Knowing that you're helping people, even it's just something small—it's something," said Emily Bronner.
With that thought in mind, the teens took up the reins of the group's sixth annual food and toy drive, to benefit Together We Cope. The group is seeking non-perishable food items and new, unwrapped toys. Anyone with a donation can drop it in one of the bins within the library. The drive began Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 10.
"I can wake up every morning, and eat breakfast," said group member Chris Dantis. "I like knowing that because of my help, other kids can, too."
The group members are all sixth graders or older, and they span five different schools: Arbor Park Middle School, Central School, Hille Middle School, Oak Forest High School and Tinley Park High School. They're united by their common causes of friendship and volunteerism.
"Before I came here, I knew none of these people, but on the first day, I was having so much fun," said Chris Dantis."It's just a bunch of people working together to help the community in general."
Last year's collection yielded six boxes of food, and three or four boxes of toy donations, said Becky Conte, the group's moderator.
"A little bit is better than nothing," chimed in Emily.
"We're like Santa's helpers," said Chris Dantis.
The group is typically about 20 kids and teens, who meet once a month. Each holiday, like Halloween and Valentine's Day, they take time to craft cards for younger library patrons.
The group members are hoping for their most successful drive yet this year.
"I like helping people who are in need," said Sara. "I think all kids should have gifts at Christmas."
HOW TO GIVE
1. Stop into the Acorn Public Library and find one of the bins on either level.
2. Drop donation(s) into box.
3. Smile, and pat yourself on the back.
The group includes:
Pedro Reyes, Emily Bronner, Megan Conte, Michelle Marban, Melissa Marban, Eddie Etayem, Chris Dantis, Tim Fogarty, Perla Lopez, Chuy Ibarra, Sara Killackey, Mary Kate Donegan, Jerry Conte, Megan McSherry, Marco Flores, Saul Ibarra, Jose Ibarra, Jasmine Lopez, Jinit Patel, Karly Fortin and Audrey Cooper.
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