HUGS helps grant wishes
By Denise Baran-Unland Correspondent January 30, 2013 2:34PM
Atendees at the Feb. 2 "Hugs and Wishes" Chocolate Ball will receive one free chocolate martini.
If you go
What: “HUGS goes Hollywood,” annual “Hugs & Wishes” Chocolate Ball
When: 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday
Where: Shorewood Village Hall, 810 Shorewood Blvd., Shorewood
Tickets: $45 in advance; $55 at the door
Etc: Entertainment by Michael J Perkins, one free chocolate martini, raffles, silent auction, appetizers and cash bar. Also, chocolate creations by Elegant Touch Catering in Shorewood, Bella Cucina in Joliet, Barolo in Joliet, Cutting Edge Catering in Shorewood, Hollingworth Candies in Lockport, Aunt Nina’s Sweets and Treats in Crest Hill and H.Kakes of Minooka.
Updated: March 1, 2013 7:29PM
Money may not grow on trees, but wishes certainly do.
On Saturday, at the annual Shorewood HUGS “Chocolate Ball,” pick a tag off the wishing tree, such as “Help a Needy Child for $100.” When Shorewood HUGS receives a matching wish, a member will call you to fulfill it.
And while you’re browsing that tree, remember to enjoy the specially prepared chocolate creations by seven local venues, the standards sung by Chicago-area singer Michael J. Perkins and the silent auction, all the while pretending to be the movie star of your choice.
This year’s chocolate ball theme is “HUGS Goes Hollywood.” For $30 (or $50 for a couple) you purchase a lanyard depicting the celebrity of your choice. If your star is chosen at the end of the evening, you’ll win a pampering package worth more than $1,000.
This includes two tickets to Gene Siskel Film Center’s Oscar Party and a year’s membership to the Gene Siskel Film Center, transportation to and from Chicago by limousine, an overnight stay at Hotel 71 (a “boutique” hotel on the Chicago River with views of Lake Michigan), $500 worth of jewelry, a variety of pre-party pampering activities and money toward the purchase of a special dress for the night as well as tuxedo rental.
“We’re getting an incredible response,” said Heidi Serena of Shorewood, co-founder and current president. “It will be like having a little Oscar experience. People can even dress like their celebrity of choice, if they like.”
Serena hopes to raise $30,000 at this year’s ball. All proceeds go toward making simple wishes — generally costing no more than $500 to fulfill — come true for disabled or needy individuals. Generally, recipients live in the Joliet area. Since its 2010 inception, Shorewood HUGS has fulfilled 90 wishes.
Wish recipients can be individuals struggling to pay for car repairs, cancer patients, people with urgent health care needs, battered women and special-needs children with special educational needs.
“We like to touch people’s hearts so they know they’re not alone,” Serena said. “We want to give them hope for tomorrow.”
Fulfilled wishes include museum passes for a father with cancer, gas cards for parents to transport their 6-year-old daughter back and forth to the hospital for cancer treatments, gift cards to replace household items for a single mother whose house burned down, therapeutic horseback riding lessons for an autistic child, hearing aids for a little girl’s grandmother so she could talk long distance on the phone with her and an iPad to assist a teen cancer patient in communicating with his friends.
Here’s how it works. Write to Shorewood HUGS and state your wish, along with your name and contact information. Include the same for the person you desire to help. Requests then appear before a wishes committee. The committee checks the wish’s validity and then decides if or how Shorewood HUGS will help. If a wish will be granted, the recipient is notified by phone.
And while the committee is deciding submissions, it supports its members by participating in their favorite charities, too. In the past, this has included the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and the Pink Heals walk.
“If someone has a passion for it,” Serena said, “everyone jumps on.”
Contact Shorewood HUGS at 954 Brook Forest Ave., No. 100, Shorewood, IL 60404 or email www.shorewoodhugs.org.