Christmas at Good Shepherd

By Anastasia Gruper


Betty Trummel and I get to pose with some very important people.

Children walked with their arms wrapped around books to donate as they entered Good Shepherd Hospital to see Santa. Throughout the night, they were engaged in various activities.  While some sat to tell Santa and Mrs. Claus what they wanted for Christmas, others created reindeer heads to carry home their “reindeer food.”  Still others gobbled up cookies and hot chocolate. When the fireman sat to read Twas the Night Before Christmas, the children all gathered excitedly on the carpet.  And when Santa started the caroling, everyone joined in.  This all was possible because the elves had planned and organized it all so well.



Through the hum of excitement, children stopped to inquire about literacy both locally and globally.  As they signed their names with hearts on book plates or purchased backpacks, they asked about kids in Africa. Some sat to watch and ask questions about the images of the children reading and writing.

My son, Michael, gets to meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus!

My son, Michael, gets to meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus!


As we packed up to leave, my five year old son turned to me and said, “It looks like the kids in Africa will be getting a lot of gifts for Christmas.”  I smiled back at him and said, “Yes, thanks to so many who donated.”

More Thoughts on The Clinic

imageBy Erik Merke

Whether you’re a teacher, tutor, parent, or student, you know the power of a favorite book and the joys that come from reading.  Obviously, there is a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment when volunteering, but A to Z goes beyond that.  When A to Z isn’t sending books to impoverished schools in Zambia, they help local residents through community outreach events, such as the book fair held at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Crystal Lake.

Students of all ages filed into the gymnasium looking for books.  Getting just the right book into the hands of an eager young reader was my goal that day.  Each volunteer hoped to ignite a spark that would ultimately transform a casual page-turner into a life-long reader.

As new books found themselves into the bags of each student who came to shop, I could see their smiles as they browsed the table tops.  That’s what volunteering at the Clinic was all about for me -getting kids excited about reading books.  As I talked about various authors and explained book plots, I hoped they saw how much I liked books, and that my enthusiasm would rub off on them.  It was an awesome experience and I look forward to volunteering again.