Downtown Crystal Lake/ Main Street has received an Illinois Main Street Lt. Governor's award for fundraising efforts benefitting The Salvation Army.
Diana Kenny, executive director for Downtown Crystal Lake, displayed the honorary award to city council members on Tuesday night, adding modestly that, "it was very nice to get this statewide recognition."
Kenny accepted trophy on Sept. 13, on behalf of the Downtown community while attending the Illinois Main Street State Conference in Quincy.
The honor for "Outstaind Organization - Fundraising Activity" acknowledged the Crystal Lake downtown merchants' Gingerbread for The Salvation Army program held last holiday season.
Knowing that The Salvation Army of McHenry County, headquartered in Crystal Lake, was experiencing a significant increase in assistance requests, Crystal Lake Downtown and individual volunteers developed the gingerbread program to help bolster donations.
"(Salvation Army) officers had expressed concern that without an increase in donations, their ability to meet the increased needs of the community would be challenging," Kenny said.
As part of the program, 19 participating businesses in Downtown Crystal Lake created their own Gingerbread creation to display at their stores and provided countertop space for a Salvation Army red kettle.
Shoppers were invited to view the gingerbread creations, and "vote" for the ones they liked by depositing money in the kettles. During the 2011 holiday season, $2,397.39 was collected in the red kettles associated with the “Gingerbread for The Salvation Army” fundraiser, Kenny said.
Major John Price of The Salvation Army said, “Not only is this a great way to raise much needed funds for my organization, it also proves to be an incredible way to get the involvement of area businesses and their customers."
During the City Council meeting, Mayor Aaron Shepley said he is not surprised to hear the Downtown Association won the honor.
"Downtown Crystal Lake has never looked better and has never had more events that are fun for the family," Shepley said. "Downtown Crystal Lake is one of the showcases for Crystal Lake."