Presents await on a labeled table for Boy's ages between 3-5 during the WJBC Brotherhood Tree Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, at the Armory in Bloomington, Illinois. (B Corbin/WJBC)
By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON - It took one extra day to push the WJBC Brotherhood Tree to its goal.
Organizer Gary Spears said it was reached with hours to spare - as volunteers have wrapped and packed enough gifts for more than 1,700 McLean County families.
"We had just a wonderful crowd show up last night. A lot of them weren't scheduled to show up last night and help us out," Spears said.
Spears joked that volunteers came big and small - from members of the Illinois State men's basketball tam to the ISU gymnastics squad.
Brotherhood Tree volunteers had hoped to wrap up gift packing on Wednesday night, but came back another night after collecting gifts for the remaining 260 families.
"A great cheer went up last night at about 6:30 when we pulled the last of the 1740 family bags and filled them," Spears said.
Spears said enough money and gifts were brought in on the final day to provide gifts for nearly 8,000 people in need in McLean County.
Now the Brotherhood Tree needs volunteers to deliver the gifts tomorrow. It starts at 8 a.m. at the Illinois National Guard Armory in Bloomington.
Eric Stock can be reached at email@example.com.