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MacMurray student demonstrates the real reason for the season

December 13, 2012

Mendy Overly, a junior majoring in social work at MacMurray College, and her family are opting to give donations to the needy this Christmas instead of giving each other gifts. 

“We’re collecting donations for five organizations,” Overly said. “They are the Warming & Cooling Center in Jacksonville, IL; Jacksonville Dialysis in Jacksonville, IL; the chemotherapy clinic in Springfield, IL; St. John’s Children’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit in Springfield, IL; and Grounds of Grace in Springfield, IL. 

On her own since she was a teenager, Overly has had to overcome many adversities in her life, including now. With her husband currently out of work and without a job herself, Overly was in a tough situation for the family this Christmas season. Instead of settling for feeling sorry for herself, Overly decided to turn the situation into a positive one.

 She and her husband, Craig Overly, held a family meeting with her children, Colby Overly, 6, Craig Overly Jr., 11, Braxton Eyre, 11, and Brittany Timmons, 14. “I asked them, ‘Do you know what Jesus did? He gave stuff his entire life’ and explained how this year, instead of getting things for Christmas, we’re going to give to others.”

At first, she wasn’t sure how the idea would go over with her children, but immediately her youngest son was ready to start making blankets. As of early this month, Overly and her family have collected enough for all the places on her list, except for the dialysis clinic and the NIC unit at St. John’s Hospital.

From now until Dec. 22, she is looking to gather things such as basic hygiene products, non-perishable food items, blankets, food gift certificates, gas cards, haircut certificates and restaurant gift certificates,. All donations can be dropped off at A Touch of Creation, 205 E. Morton Ave., or at On the Cutting Edge, 1646 Lakeview Terrace.

“Happiness is not what we get in life, it is what we give. In helping others, we receive more than money can buy. No one ever became poor by helping or giving,” Overly offered. ”Life is what we make it; scars are just a road map of where we have been, which gives us insight to help others and to find our place in life.”

For more information, contact:

Alyssa Eason, Public Relations Associate
Work: 217-479-7181
Email: Send Email

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