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Geneva History Museum's annual Giving Trees cover 19 nonprofits

Voting for favorite trees – with dollars – continues through Dec. 21

GENEVA – The Giving Trees at the Geneva History Museum have become so popular with non-profit organizations, the museum accepted 19 of them this year, posting several of them in the hallway outside the gallery.

Executive Director Terry Emma said they’ve had a wait list since September.

The trees promote support for their various causes with “votes” recorded as dollars donated.

The charity that gets the most votes for its tree will receive all of its proceeds, while the rest will share 50-50 with the museum, Emma said.

People can vote in person or online at for their favorite tree until Dec. 21.

Each charity’s mission is creatively displayed in its tree.

With its focus on literacy, the Altrusa International of Fox Valley tree uses small book covers as ornaments. One of them, is “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who campaigned for girls’ education and was shot by the Taliban in 2012 when she was 14.

The Geneva Chamber of Commerce collected the names of all its members on little cards and strung them vertically on ribbons from the top of the tree.

The Geneva Library Foundation, which supports the Geneva Public Library’s mission as a community resource, created a “tree” out of book shipping boxes – complete with packing peanuts as the skirt.

The Greater Geneva Art Guild’s tree is jam-packed with artists’ works, from stained glass to actually paintings.

The guild is now working with the Geneva Cultural Arts Foundation to create a Cultural Arts Center in Geneva.

Hoofbeats & Heartbeats in St. Charles provides scholarships for equine-assisted therapy in a natural environment. The tree included photos of horses, tiny horses and horseshoes as ornaments.

Lazarus House in St. Charles, which provides housing and other services for homeless people, decorated its tree with a superhero theme. Small masks and emblems of comic heroes are interspersed with signs proclaiming “overnight volunteer,” “event planner” and “counseling.”

Lazarus House relies on volunteers 24 hours a day, every day, all year.

Northern Illinois Food Bank, with its headquarters in Geneva, decorated its tree with a bright orange garland in the same coloring as it logo.

Second Act - Scene 2, offers Christian-based mental health counseling, is based in Geneva.

Sewing for Smiles, lists who it sews for – Haiti, Guatemala, Africa and South Carolina. The ministry assists impoverished children by providing dresses so they can go to school. They repurpose pillowcases into sundresses and accept completed dresses and sewing supplies in Geneva.

Other nonprofits with trees on display are:

• Always Room 4 More Paws, which rescues animals from high-kill shelters and places them in foster homes to get them ready to be adopted.

• American Legion Post 75 in Geneva, which serves veterans and supports local organizations.

• CASA Kane County is a volunteer organization that advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children within the juvenile court system.

• Cub Scout Pack 111, a Geneva pack that is part of the Three Fires Council.

• Geneva Community Chest sponsors fundraising events for a variety of local service organizations.

• Geneva Rotary provides scholarships for college or technical schools and a holiday party for disabled adults.

• Marklund serves people with disabilities, both with housing and education.

• The Salvation Army Tri-City Corps based in St. Charles serves the area with food, counseling and spiritual guidance.

• Suicide Prevention Services based in Batavia, provides support for survivors of suicide loss and suicide attempts. The organization is the one who answers when someone calls the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

• TriCity Family Services provides affordable mental health services and counseling.

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