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Special Olympics Marks 10 Years of Gift Wrapping Fundraiser

Dec 15, 2015 07:33PM ● Published by Shannon Antinori

Photo provided by Donna Papke

If you’re out finishing up your holiday shopping this weekend, you can get your gifts wrapped for you while benefitting a good cause.

For the 10th year, Best Buy in Oswego will host the Kendall County Special Olympics Family and Friends Organization gift-wrapping fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 19. In exchange for a donation, Oswego-area residents are invited to come have their presents wrapped by friends and family volunteers. All proceeds from the event will benefit local Special Olympics athletes.

Secretary Donna Papke said the friends and family organization was founded 40 years ago to support Kendall County Special Olympics athletes.

“It’s a really wonderful, close-knit organization, and if a family needs help, we help them,” she said.

The organization helps provide uniforms, equipment and transportation to Special Olympics events. The friends and family organization also hosts social events including Halloween parties and karaoke nights for individuals with special needs and their families.

“Our main focus is definitely the Special Olympics,” said Papke. “Our group is totally funded by donations, and all our coaches are volunteers.”

Kendall County Special Olympians compete in six areas, including swimming, powerlifting, track and field, bowling, golf and winter events, Papke said. Athletes range in age from 8 to competitors in their 60s, she added.

The Dec. 19 gift-wrapping event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Best Buy, 2600 Route 34.

The electronics store has stepped up to host the event for the past decade.

“Best Buy had been really good to us,” Papke said.

Christmas shoppers are invited to come meet local Special Olympics athletes while they wait to have their presents gift-wrapped.

“We just ask for a donation,” Papke said, adding, “People are very generous.”

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