The WJBC Brotherhood Tree delivered presents to nearly 1,800 families this year. (B. Corbin/WJBC)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
BLOOMINGTON - For 43 years, the WJBC Brotherhood Tree has helped thousands of families in McLean County and this year, someone has apparently stolen from the charity.
Brotherhood Tree Coordinator Janae McGrew said during Saturday's gift distribution, a woman filled out a delivery slip with a fake phone number and address and didn't deliver 70 presents to 15 families. Volunteers keep a list of families who sign up, and all those families got presents, except for 15 located in one area.
"Today we will be in the process of contacting those families to let them know we have had some gifts that came in after our deadline," McGrew said. "We've been able to put together gifts for all the children on the list."
McGrew said she is working with Bloomington Police on the theft.
"We're looking at ways to increase security behind the scenes. It's important to us that we keep the community-feel of the project so that people can still get involved," McGrew said. "One of the great things about this project is the experience that the volunteers get to have of giving back and that's something that we certainly don't ever want to change."
McGrew said there has never been a problem like this in the history of the WJBC Brotherhood Tree. She said it's important to not let the actions of one person outweigh the amazing community outpouring of love and support.