Little Friends is kicking off their annual Giving Trees Program with a very special event from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16th at The Third Floor by Two Brothers in downtown Naperville (16 W. Jefferson Ave.). The Celebrity Bartending Showdown will engage two community leaders – Dan Casey and Ray Kinney – and their hand-selected teams of celebrity bartenders in a fierce competition to benefit Little Friends’ Giving Tree program. Proceeds will provide assistance to families in crisis this holiday season.


“The harsh reality for families that support a loved one with autism or another developmental disability is that they will spend $17,000 MORE PER CHILD every year than they would if they had a typical child. The lifetime cost for a child with autism is between $1.4 and 2.4 million. Our families are often emotionally and financially exhausted,” says Kristi Athas Landorf, President and CEO. “Yet when asked what help they need, their requests are not grand or complicated. They would like to have a holiday meal for their family; they would like to put some presents under the tree. In a typical year, we have six or seven families that need more-than-usual assistance. This year we have 19 families in crisis.”


“When we realized the number of families needing additional assistance more than doubled, we knew we needed to expand the Giving Tree program. And phase one, so to speak, is to ensure that these 19 families have food for the Thanksgiving holiday and the long weekend it’s accompanied by,” says Renee Miklosik, Director of Special Events and Volunteers. “We hope our friends and supporters will join us for this unique event. Dan and Ray have been such great advocates of our mission, and they were excited to have the opportunity to ‘best’ the other, especially when their efforts will benefit our clients and their families.”


Adds Landorf, “We are so grateful to Dan and Ray for leading the charge for our Giving Tree Program, and we can’t thank Jim Ebel and Two Brothers enough for their graciousness in hosting this event. Their long-time support is appreciated.”


There is no cost to attend this event, though Little Friends will benefit from tips collected by the celebrity bartenders. Little Friends will also collect donations of gift cards to local grocery stores and superstores (Casey’s Foods, Jewel, Meijer, Walmart and Target) to be distributed to clients and families. Online donations can also be made, specifically for this event, by visiting To learn more, please visit Little Friends’ website,