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Waukegan pub is hub of holiday activity to support the needy

Miggy Smalls Sports Pub Waukegan held its first toy drive last Saturday benefit local charities. From left is owner Mike

Miggy Smalls Sports Pub in Waukegan held its first toy drive last Saturday to benefit local charities. From left is owner Mike Perusky’s mother Carmen, her husband Randy Pearce, owner Perusky, and Anel Garza who is dressed as Santa’s helper. | TINA JOHANS

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Updated: January 24, 2014 6:21AM

They drank merrily at the Miggy Smalls Sports Pub in Waukegan last Saturday, but the patrons also poured their compassion for those less fortunate children in the community.

In response to a toy drive by the owner, they came bearing toys which filled a table at the tavern at 1508 Washington Street.

“We want to make sure those kids will have toys for Christmas. It’s our way to give it back to the community,” said Mike Perusky who bought the former Lime Lounge and opened it more than a year ago under his name.

Since then, the place has become a vibrant neighborhood drinking hole with programs such as a fundraiser for a cancer patient in November that attracted a growing following. It was a double-day Saturday. Besides the toy drive, the tavern was the locale for an event for the Class 1994 of Waukegan High School.

As if to set herself as an example, Carmen Pearce, Perusky’s mother, donated six toys including a Barbie Doll and some science toys.

“We want to give to children who are not as lucky and blessed as we are,” said Pearce, who came with four grandchildren in tow.

The tavern, packed with people, was in a jolly holiday mood with a Santa holding court in a corner where parents snapped pictures of their children sitting with St. Nick. Some patrons were donning Christmas costume. There was holiday music in the air that competed with sounds from four TV sets on the walls. The owner, by the way, is a Bears fan.

Responding to the toy drive, Jill Boness visited the place for the first time and made a cash donation, she said, for “a good cause.”

“Every child should have a gift for Christmas,” said Susan Vasquez who came with her son Manny, bringing with them a doll, two games and some coloring books.

All the toys will be divided between Arden Shore Child and Family Services in Waukegan and A Safe Place Lake County Crisis Center, said Perusky, a 1996 Waukegan High School graduate.

Jesus Colon of Kenosha and his wife Frances were enjoying a beer at a table. They came with 15 drawing sheets, markers and modeling clay.

“Mike is a good friend of us. We came to support the good cause,” said Frances.

Claire Bundy of Lindenhurst, mother of two young kids, donated a Barbie doll “to support my friend’s toy drive.”

As the evening wore on, more people came in from the cold with warm feeling for the toy drive. Perusky thanked the supporters for his first toy drive and said he would do it again next year.

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