Christmas in the Wards
More than ever Christmas in the Wards’ mission to serve communities and the diverse families and students that comprise them throughout Chicago matters. Historically marginalized, hard to count (HTC) communities know all too well the impacts and realities of disinvestment. Today, the reckoning of a pandemic widens the disparities to resources that provide services, programs, and education to those same vulnerable communities, families, and students.
We Are Here To Help.
Pictured: Larry Huggins, Founder & LaToyia Huggins, Executive Director
The Reason for The Season
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.” We know this year that strain will resound a little louder, and the clothing and essentials, laptops, and special gifts from Santa we give will help foster families’ resiliency and spread the true spirit and meaning of the Christmas season.
Our first Christmas event was in a small gym for approximately 50 south side families. Last year, we hosted 500 families from 25 Chicago south, west, and north side wards in our largest Christmas Spectacular and Toy Giveaway at McCormick Place Lakeside. 2020, our 24th year will be a year of innovation, resiliency, and a reimagined Christmas in the Wards filled with Christmas joy!
Our motto is it takes a city to do what we do, and with your support, our mission continues.
What We Do
Each year we work with our civic leaders, schools, business and community partners throughout Chicago to bring the spirit of the season to hard-working families, deserving students, and our youth. We dedicate 100% of our resources for a sole purpose, to serve. We accomplish this by selecting with our aldermen over 100 deserving families each year from the wards of Chicago who would otherwise go without not only toys-but essentials like food and clothing; by partnering with Congressman Rush each year to give over 50 laptops to college-bound freshman who have achieved academic excellence in their secondary education; by celebrating and rewarding outstanding achievement-as we did in 2016 with laptops to the entire Wendell Phillips Academy football team, Chicago’s first public school team to win the state football title.
"When we join hands, remembering the gifts that we have been granted throughout our lives, we can similarly be of service and ensure that the spirit of the holidays remains alive for all, no matter their circumstances. From a small Englewood gymnasium to a city-wide celebration of community, Christmas in the Wards is an annual testament of the power of generosity. Happy Holidays and may your new year bring you love and happiness."
— JB Pritzker
Governor, State of Illinois
“I am grateful to celebrate another holiday season with Christmas in the Wards. Now in its 23rd year, this is a tradition I look forward to each year because of the joy it brings to communities while also providing vital opportunities for scholarships, education tools, and technology to transform lives.”
— Toni Preckwinkle
President, Cook County Board of Commissioners
“I encourage everyone to take the time to think about how you can be a better neighbor to those in need and to reach out and volunteer in your neighborhoods and across the city to help everyone enjoy their own holiday season as best they can.”
— Lori Lightfoot
Mayor, City of Chicago