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.
Click below to view our
2020 Program Book
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.
Service to the Community Award
Julia Stasch our 2020 Service to the Community Award Recipient
Every year we honor a person, group, or organization who exemplifies service and unity to the people and communities throughout Chicago. In 2019 Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot
received the 1st Christmas in the Wards Service to the
Community Award to recognize her commitment to justice, equality, and unity to all people in Chicago’s diverse communities. We are honored to announce Julia Stasch as our 2nd recipient of the Service to the Community Award.
We’ve adopted a motto from Mahatma Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” From our beginnings serving the Englewood community to now, 24 years later serving 30 wards from
all sides of Chicago, our mission continues to positively impact and transform the lives of underserved families and students throughout Chicago during Christmas and year-round. We have found ourselves in this work. Christmas 365 programming is our goal, and Julia's leadership, generosity, and life-long service is the personification of our values and reflection of that mission.
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 the 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. We partner with civic leaders and public officials like Congressman Rush each year to give over 50 laptops to college-bound freshman who achieve academic excellence in their secondary education and students who excel in extracurricular endeavors. In 2016 the entire Wendell Phillips Academy football team, Chicago’s first public school team winning the state football title, received laptops from Christmas in the Wards.
"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