Christmas in the Wards celebrates its 27th year of Giving & Service to the Community with Events in the City, Southland, and Proviso!



 

Christmas in the Wards celebrates its 27th year of

Giving & Service to the Community with Events in the City, Southland, and Proviso!


Christmas in the Wards celebrated its 27th year of Giving & Service to the Community with multiple events this year. Starting off the holiday celebrations was the annual shopping with the Mayor December 11, 2023, at Walmart, 10900 S. Doty Avenue in Chicago. Larry Huggins, Founder of Christmas in the Wards, and Title Sponsors Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority (*MPEA), Walmart & Amazon; Presenting Sponsors, Walgreens & Grub Hub along with Platinum, Diamond, Gold Sponsors and Aldermen on the south side to shop for families.


Mayor Brandon Johnson joined the celebration to greet Christmas in the Wards (CITW) families and express season greetings to these guests. Mayor Johnson continues a tradition of Chicago Mayors hosting families in support of Christmas in the Wards since its beginnings as Christmas in Englewood in 1996. Mayor Johnson highlighted the work that Christmas in the Wards does as well as thanked the sponsors and local politicians for making this happen. Following the press event, President Preckwinkle, Vice Mayor Burnett, and several aldermen shopped for essentials and toys around Pullman Walmart and helped families check out.

Saturday, December 16, 2023, CITW returned to McCormick Place for the first time since 2019, Aldermen from the north, west and southside distributed thousands and thousands of Christmas gifts to over 1200 children and students representing over 700 lucky families during A HISTORIC EVENT.

Larry Huggins, Christmas in the Wards, Mayor Brandon Johnson, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, along with Title Sponsors – Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), Walmart & Amazon; Presenting Sponsors -- Walgreens & Grub Hub along with Platinum, Diamond, and Gold Sponsors and U.S., State, and Local Elected Officials.

Additionally, Samuel Thomas, GM, MPEA, Congressman Danny Davis, Congressman Jonathan Jackson, DNC Host Committee Executive Director Christy George, as well as numerous elected officials and judges were all on hand to distribute “Tech & Toys.”   The Chicago Community Builders Collective (CCBC) received the 5th Annual Lightfoot Service to the Community Award.

The event was unlike any other you have ever seen. The wonder in the eyes of the children when they walked into SANTA’S WORKSHOP and a WINTER WONDERLAND was something to behold. Each family received gifts on their wish list, but the EXCITEMENT CAME WITH THE RAFFLE!!!!!  Each family was given a raffle ticket in which they could win one of the AMAZING prizes before their eyes…rows and rows of desirable toys and gifts on every child’s Christmas list.  Imagine walking into McCormick place and seeing over 100 laptops; 200 bicycles; 100 large flat screen TVs; as well as multiple hundreds and hundreds, Xbox; PS5s; Hoverboards; Dolls; Athletic Gear; and so much more.

On Sunday, December 17, 2023, Christmas in the Wards, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, along with Title Sponsors – Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA),  Walmart & Amazon; Presenting Sponsors -- Walgreens & Grub Hub along with Platinum, Diamond, and Gold Sponsors descended on the Southland for “Christmas in Southland” at the Matteson Community Center. 

Co-hosted by Sheila Chalmers-Currin, President, Village of Matteson, Calvin Jordan, Supervisor, Rich Township as well as numerous political and religious leaders from the Matteson community and Rich Township were on hand with Christmas in The Wards for this amazing event. Bikes, Winter Gear, TVs, Toys, Laptops and Food to Deserving Families ensured that the day was a festive occasion.


Tuesday, December 19, 2023, Larry Huggins, Christmas in the Wards, Title Sponsor Amazon, North Riverside Mayor Joseph Mengoni, Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey, Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson, Maywood Mayor Nathaniel Booker, Black Men United and Village Board Trustees were on hand to ensure that Proviso area families had enough food for the table on Christmas.


Selected families from Proviso township shopped during a one-day event at the Amazon Fresh store in North Riverside. “We noticed in 2018 when our families would shop at a local store, they would immediately go to the food section”, stated LaToyia Huggins, Executive Director, Christmas in the Wards, “Having this ability for them to come in and shop and fill their plates for Christmas just means a lot to us.”  


“Historically marginalized, hard to count communities know all too well the realities of access gaps in goods and services, inequities in resources, and the struggles of resiliency in their neighborhoods,” states Mr. Huggins. “We know that families strive 365 days a year, yet the strains are felt most during the holiday season, what we collectively call ‘the most wonderful time of the year’. As disparities widen for so many, our mission deepens to bridge the gaps through clothing and essentials for families, laptops and tutoring services for students, food and nutrition support, and extraordinary gifts from Santa to aid families, ease burdens, and spread the true spirit and meaning of Christmas in the recovery of a pandemic.”


Mr. Huggins states, “It is our mission that the toys, clothing, and technology gifts they receive will transforms lives. With supply chain issues affecting many families’ holiday, this event will definitely bring joy to area families and their children.”


What began as grassroots fundraising has developed into a 501c3 non-profit organization supported by individuals; local businesses; and Fortune 500 companies. Each year, Christmas in The Wards serve Chicago’s underserved families and children through giving the gift of Christmas.

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