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Brightpoint holds St. Patrick’s Day parade in Uptown Normal

Written by on March 12, 2024

Photo provided by Brightpoint

NORMAL, Ill. – With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, the town of Normal will see a parade in Uptown to celebrate the holiday. However, it is also an opportuniy for the community to come together to support Brightpoint, a local non-profit organization in Bloomington-Normal.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is Saturday, March 16, at 1 p.m. The route will begin on School Street and North Street by the Redbird Spirit Shop and move east down North Street through Uptown Circle and to Linden Street.

Program Manager of Brightpoint Leah Ristow explained why this year’s parade is essential.

“Brightpoint is a not-for-profit we’re all over the state, but we really have a big organization in Bloomington. Home visiting at Brightpoint is something that is the parent support service, and it’s really for people who just want to make sure that they can give their child, you know, everything that they can give,” she said. “I think we all know that that really important part in a child’s development from prenatal to when they’re going to kindergarten is so vital, and so we want to focus on that age group.”

Brightpoint always accepts monetary donations, but Ristow outlines the other forms of donations that they accept and would benefit from to provide families with those resources.

Ristow says, “I think people think, oh, we want to donate, you know, old clothes and old toys, and that’s great and all, but sometimes being able to give a family brand new toys and brand new clothes is just a real honor to get to do. So we accept donations like that, you know.” 

The money donated goes directly to the families in need in McLean County, providing basic necessities and resources for the parents and children. Ristow explains how this directly impacts families receiving aid from Brightpoint.

“The money that gets raised we use to buy Pack ‘n Plays, and so we want to help parents have a safe place for their babies to sleep. We want to help them with car seats to make sure they have safe ways of transportation for their kids,” she said. “We help parents with getting them Uber cards or bus passes to make sure that they can get to those vital appointments that their babies need and so just many of those ways are ways that we can help support families that are in our community.”

Ristow also explains the way the name behind the parade and how it is relevant to the holiday.

She said, “It’s called ‘Sharing the Green’ parade because it’s an opportunity for the community just to come together to celebrate Irish heritage and share the green by donating to Brightpoint. We’re really excited we’ve got lots of candy to hand out, and we’re just super thankful.”