Taylor and Lily Freer, ages 12 and 9, respectively, began “Christmas in July” eight years ago. Originally, Taylor wanted to give away money she had collected in a bank to charity. But with the help of her family, the idea evolved to what it is today — a fundraising jump-start for the Riverbend’s Community Christmas that provides generously for families in need at Christmastime.
Every year, the girls help organize the open-to-the-public Christmas in July when the siblings, their friends and family sell and serve a sloppy Joe lunch. All of the proceeds go toward items, toys and other needs for families who receive Community Christmas giving. This year, Christmas in July is from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, July 29 at Freer Auto Body, 4512 Alby St. in Godfrey.
“We try to give back as much as we can,” said the girls’ father, Tim Freer, owner and president of Freer Auto Body.
Christmas in July raised $2,500 its first year; last year, the event raised $25,000. Taylor and Lily, their father, mother Carrie Freer, and grandparents Mike and Margaret Freer all chip in volunteer time to make Christmas in July a success, the girls’ grandmother said.
The family is one of the top supporters of Community Christmas, which is sponsored by the Telegraph and the United Way. The United Way recognized Taylor and Lily Freer as “outstanding community volunteers” in the years since the founding of Christmas in July. Additionally, the sisters will be recognized for their charitable efforts on Friday, August 19 by the St. Louis chapter of the Salvation Army at the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis.
For more information about Christmas in July, visit www.freerautobody.com or call Freer Auto Body at (618) 466-6151.
We would like to thank The Telegraph for reprint permission.