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Mobilizing the Community to Spread Christmas Cheer

January 5, 2022

Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, one Chicago area community was treated to something else equally contagious: altruism. Days before Christmas, local resident Cassie Greenhill brought holiday cheer to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities at the Shady Oaks campus of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) in the simple but meaningful form of holiday cards.

For more than 150 years, LSSI has brought healing, justice and wholeness to people in its community. Cassie extended the work of LSSI in supporting her community when she began calling for holiday card donations in 2019. What started as a mission to receive 500 cards ending up morphing into double that amount. “I’m literally shaking having this much attention to something so small,” Cassie said in a local television news interview.

Cassie, who has autism, did so by tapping into her network for support, including students at her former high school. The Sophomore Student Council at Oak Forest High School worked together on the 1,000 cards. The cards were personalized for each recipient at the LSSI campus. LSSI officials said the residents at Shady Oaks enjoy reading the cards and having them read to them.

LSSI is a member of Lutheran Services in America, a nonprofit that harnesses a nationwide network of 300 health and human services organizations to change lives in communities across America. Together, the network works with one in 50 people in America each year.

Learn more about Lutheran Social Services of Illinois.