Mission of Operation North Pole, Inc.
……….helping spread the spirit of the holidays to children in need throughout the year.
Since its very beginnings, Operation North Pole’s (ONP) primary mission has always focused on helping seriously and terminally ill children and their families during the holiday season. ONP has sought to provide these families with one day of relief from the continuous emotional and financial stress that goes hand in hand with the roller coaster battle to save the life of a child. As one volunteer once said, “[t]heir ordinary is different than ours….” so for that one day, ONP does everything it can to change “their ordinary” and let them know that there are people in this world who care and are willing to help in their time of need.
In 2011, 30 families were invited to ONP’s first fantasy trip to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus via the Metra Union Pacific Northwest Line (Chicago’s Commuter rail line). Along with its many volunteers, ONP transformed a rather quaint 3,000 square foot assembly hall into a winter wonderland for the day’s party. From these modest beginnings, ONP's mission of spreading the spirit of the holidays launched into full swing.
In just a few short years ONP’s annual program has grown, now hosting 75 families and providing all of the pre-teen children in each participating family with specially selected gifts from Santa. The “winter wonderland” event is now held in the 28,000 square foot main floor ballroom of the prestigious Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont Illinois. It is a full day of fun, excitement, and joy for the children and their families. Today, ONP charters a Metra train for the event, and even “wraps” train cars and the engine in a festive theme, further adding to the day’s magical excitement for these families.
As ONP has grown over the years to include more families, so too has its mission to focus on more than just seriously and terminally ill children during the holidays. In the past several years, working with Operation Warm, (another 501(c)(3) charity that helps get NEW winter coats to children in need) ONP has been responsible for providing in excess of 3,000 winter coats to needy children in the greater Chicago area. From Lake County to the southeast side of Chicago, needy children have a warm coat that will protect them during the winter months.
WE are not content to stop there, as ONP is dedicated to expanding its mission by working with high school and college aged students, encouraging and supporting these future leaders to remember the less fortunate in their communities. Collaborating with philanthropic individuals and organizations who have like-minded goals, ONP plans to act as a liaison with high school and college clubs who are willing to make a positive impact on childhood hunger, homelessness and poverty through matching grant outreach programs. The youth of America are our future and they will one day be responsible for addressing the social needs of the less fortunate. Helping these students make an impact on society today will hopefully instill in them the value of making a commitment to the less fortunate and change the future for the good of all.