By Joseph Phillips
Christmas In The Wards (CITW), in collaboration with Walmart and local clergy in the area, joined together on Monday, December 21, to give away food, essentials, gift cards and toys to underserved families in the community.
The event took place at Walmart, 10900 S. Doty Ave. on Chicago’s South Side, and was part of the store’s “Day of Giving” giveaway that provided a $25,000 donation.
“Current circumstances brought on by the pandemic means more families need financial assistance for necessities,” said Larry Huggins, founder of Christmas In The Wards. “The food and essentials this Walmart Day of Giving provide means that the strains hard-working families endure will be a little lighter this Christmas.”
According to CITW, 15 clergy members identified 10 deserving families from their congregation to participate in the two-session event on Monday.
In session one, each family received a $100 Walmart gift card for grocery shopping within the store. In session two, an additional 50 families received a $250 gift card to go on a staggered shopping experience to purchase food, clothes, and toys.
In the past years, the group has given away dozens of laptops, clothes, technology gifts, and over 10,000 toys at McCormick Place. And to ensure that each child has a Merry Christmas, each year CITW serves Chicago’s underserved families and children through giving the gift of Christmas. What began as grassroots fundraising has developed into a 501c3 non-profit organization supported by individuals, local businesses and Fortune 500 companies.
The event was attended by Josh Cotton of Walmart, and the following clergy members: Pastor Leslie Sanders (Hope Presbyterian Church), Pastor Walter P. Turner, III (New Spiritual Light MB Church), Pastor Johnny L. Miller (Mt. Vernon MB Church), Bishop Horace Smith (Apostolic Faith Church), Bishop Simon Gordon (Triedstone Church of Chicago), Pastor James T. Meeks (House of Hope) and Pastor Michael Eaddy (People’s Church of The Harvest COGIC).
Other clergy members present were: Rev. Alvin Love (Lilydale First Baptist Church), Pastor John Harrell (Proviso MB Church), Apostle Carl L. White (Victory Christian International Ministries), Pastor Marvin Hunter (Grace Memorial MB Church), Pastor Chris Harris (Bright Star Church Chicago), Father Michael Pfleger (Saint Sabina), Pastor T.L. Barrett (The Life Center COGIC) and Congressman Bobby L. Rush, pastor of Beloved Community COGIC.