Needy families served by several charities in the St. Louis Metro area will receive food, clothing and gift-wrapped presents this holiday season thanks to Dream Home Charities’ annual ‘Semis for Santa’ campaign in Wood River.

On Dec. 1, volunteers collected enough donations and gift-wrapped presents from REALTORS® and area residents to fill three semi-trailers.

“The past week was ‘nose to the grindstone’ and the volunteers have been shopping and boxing from dawn till dusk,” said REALTOR® Sherry Gilleland, managing broker for Dream Home Realty Centre in Brighton and president/founder of Dream Home Charities. “The community and local businesses have stepped up to the plate, and without them, this wouldn’t be possible. We are so appreciative to everyone who had a hand in this.”

Although Dream Home Charities distributes what’s been collected during ‘Semis for Santa’ to local nonprofit organizations, Gilleland says the organization is open to helping other charities, too. In fact, community support has been so good that Dream Home Charities is helping the needy year-round.

History in the making

The foundation for this holiday project began with Gilleland in 2012, when she sought to fill a trolley car with toys in support of a local Toys for Tots campaign. The success of that endeavor helped her raise the bar the following year, and so on.

“In 2013, I decided I wanted to fill a school bus with toys and nonperishable food items, and again we did. In 2014, I thought, ‘Let’s fill a semi.’ Then in 2015, and each year since, we have not only filled two semis, we have spilled out beyond them,” Gilleland said.

“This year, we reached for the stars and we filled three semis!  Also, we were able to help more than 100 needy families that we adopted through local school principals, teachers, social workers and other professionals. We ended up helping 289 individuals,” she said.

“Our Christmas wish this year is to find a warehouse.  We have outgrown ourselves and we are now helping individuals in need throughout the year. If someone comes down with cancer, we offer them gas cards, food cards, etc.  If someone has a house burn down and needs items, we are there to help them,” said Gilleland.

If you would like to donate or volunteer for Dream Home Charities, call Gilleland at 618-799-0990 or Vice President Kathy Weaver at 618-535-1142.

Sherry Gilleland rejoices at the success of Dream Home Charities.