Forest Park resident Kristen Lyons will wrap your holiday presents for you, providing paper, ribbon and bows. All you need to do is make a contribution of any amount, in either non-perishable food items or a financial donation, to the Forest Park Food Pantry.

For several years, Lyons has been active in volunteer work through the community center, which runs the Forest Park Food Pantry. She’s delivered turkeys for Thanksgiving and presents for Christmas in past years.

“The outreach of our community center and the hard work of Karen [Dylewski] and her staff is amazing, especially at the holidays,” Lyons said. “Now in these times of COVID, food pantries and other social services are seeing an increase in demand. Forest Park is no different.”

This year, instead of helping deliver turkeys and presents, which are being done through drive-through events instead, Lyons decided to find a way to increase donations to the food pantry. And since she enjoys wrapping gifts (“Maybe I was an elf in a past life?” she suggested), she came up with the idea of exchanging free present wrapping, paper included, for donations to the food pantry.

Her stepdaughter Emily helps Lyons choose the paper, especially for toys and kids’ gifts. Her husband John “is not that great at wrapping,” Lyons said, but helps with deliveries when needed.

Some guidelines for Lyons present wrapping service:

–        Any donation amount, either in money or non-perishable food items, will be accepted.

–        It’s helpful if boxes (for a shirt, for example) are provided, though Lyons has some on hand.

–        All the gifts for a single person will be wrapped in the same paper, if possible, so it’s easily identifiable for the gift giver.

–        Those who already have wrapping paper picked out can drop it off with their gifts to have it wrapped in the paper they’ve already chosen.

–        Lyons’ last wrapping day is Thursday, Dec. 17.

–        Donations of ribbons, bows or wrapping paper will be gladly accepted.

Lyons said her goal is to continue doing this next year, perhaps expanding the service to every weekend during the holiday season on Madison Street.

This Saturday, Dec. 12, Lyons will be on Madison Street for a “drive by and drop off” at 7347 Madison St., under the covering of the Brown Cow marquee, from noon to 2 p.m. for people who’d like to drop off gifts, walk around Madison Street, and come back for their wrapped gifts, with a donation for the Forest Park Food Pantry too.

Contact Kristen Lyons at with any questions or to set up drop-off and pick-up times for gifts.