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Rockford teen donates hundreds of books and games to Boys & Girls Club

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — It all started with cakes.

Jeff Snedegar took a baking class at Rock Valley College focused on baking and decorating cakes a couple of years ago.

While excited about his new skill, Snedegar said at the time "the demand for cakes was a little low" so he wanted to find a way to apply what he had learned.

That's when he got involved with the Rockford Boys & Girls Club.

He started bringing baked goods to kids at the Orton Keyes location about a year and a half ago.

"I'd been baking cupcakes and bringing them over monthly to do a little birthday bash celebration," Snedegar said.

However, when quarantine began, the birthday bashes came to a hault.

It left Snedegar thinking of new ways to still connect with the kids.

"These kids who are stuck inside all day, maybe don't have a ton to do. What can I do to help them without actually going out and being with them."

Snedegar, with the help of his mom, starting going around the neighborhood asking for children's books and games.

Friends, family, neighbors and his classmates at Guilford High School all chipped in to collect over 600 books and over 100 games.

"We eventually had to cut people off because so many people were donating them that we ran out of room in our car," Snedegar said.

"It was amazing to see how much people wanted to help."

Once collection was complete, Snedegar called the Boys & Girls Club to see to how to get the donations to the kids.

The ultimate decision was to integrate the books into daily deliveries the club was doing to get food to people in the community.

"We deliver sack suppers Monday-Friday. We also help the school district give out packets of educational materials to the kids that we reach and we at the boys and girls club give them academic information also," Rockford Boys & Girls Club Fairgrounds director Gaile Dixon said.

Workers with the Boys & Girls Club pile in a bus and go door to door to get families connected to club meals to help get them through the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of the week, if kids get their work done, they get an extra care package with some of the books and games along with their meals.

Dixon had nothing but nice things to say about Snedegar for his hard work.

From collecting all of the books and games to even breaking them down into age groups to make it easier for workers to get appropriate gifts to each kid.

"I just think that it was remarkable. Most of the time you find kids that have to do something. He didn't have to do this," Dixon said.

"He came up with the idea, formulated it, find out how he could make it happen and he has made it happen and he's made a big impact so we appreciate and thank him very much."

For Snedegar, volunteering and giving back has always appealed to him.

Seeing the response from the Boys & Girls Club and the kids in the community shows him his work was effort well spent.

"It makes me feel pretty good. It also makes me feel like I'm not just wasting time in this quarantine," Snededar.

"Of course I would like to thank everyone who donated. It wouldn't have been possible without them."

There were a few games donated that were not in the best shape when Snedegar got them.

He say he plans on getting them repaired and donating them once they are in better condition.

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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