One of my family's favorite holiday traditions is to fill some mugs full of hot chocolate, pack in the car, and drive around the Rockford area looking at Christmas lights.

Every year a drive by the Benka house on Flying Cloud Court in Cherry Valley always makes the list. I love the "Seasons Greetings from Bob" that is usually lit above the garage. I love that every year there is something new to look at, and I also love the holiday display from the neighbors across the street that is simply a big sign that says "ditto" in lights with an arrow pointing towards the Benka's makes me smile every time I see it.

I am ashamed to admit that in all the years I have driven by the Benka's home at Christmas, I have never once noticed a donation box in their yard or realized all the good they have been doing for this community for the last 17 years!

13-WREX reports that ever since they won a holiday decorating prize of $150 from the Rockford Register Star back in 2003, they have been paying the gesture forward to several different charities in the Rockford area;

the Benkas came up with an idea to put out a donation box at their box for MELD when they turned on the Christmas lights each year.

That idea resulted in thousands of dollars being raised over the past few years for Rockford MELD, Special Olympics and most recently, Rock House Kids.

Even though COVID-19 caused widespread economic impact, the Benkas still helped raise over $1,300 for the charity in 2020.

Every year when we drive past the Benka's home my husband makes a comment about how much their electric bill must beeach December, and now that I know they not only write a big check to ComEd each year, but one to a local charity as well, I will definitely be looking for the donation box each year!

God Bless you, Benkas, and "Season's Greetings from Shannon"!

Catch Lil Zim on ‘Q98.5 Mornings with Lil Zim & JB’ on Q98.5 from 6:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow her on TwitterInstagram, and  Facebook


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