Holiday giving at New Eastside

gagnonb-01Few things in life bring greater joy than giving to those in need. Several New Eastside businesses are providing bins for food collection in support of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Charitable opportunities will continue throughout the holidays.

Toys for Tots collects new, unwrapped toys to distribute as Christmas gifts to less-fortunate children. There are two nearby drop-off boxes: inside Harold Washington College at 30 E. Lake St., and near the Glazed and Infused Donut Shop at 222 N. LaSalle St.

Lurie Children’s Hospital also accepts holiday toy donations, which not only brighten spirits but also bring comfort and healing to children at the main hospital as well as their outpatient centers. To arrange (or schedule) a holiday toy donation, please email by December 18.

The Chicago Bears and Jewel-Osco are now in their 28th year sponsoring the Chicago Bears Coat Drive to support The Salvation Army. New and gently used coats can be dropped off at any Jewel-Osco location in the Chicagoland area through January 1, 2017.

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program has inspired local resident Christina Lico to contribute through her job for the past fifteen years. “It was a tradition we started before our daughter was born,” she says. Her daughter, now four and a half years old, gets to select a gift for a child her age and pays for it with money she’s saved throughout the year.

“Families can also volunteer their time the week before Christmas to help distribute the gifts and meal boxes to the Angel Tree families,” says Lico. Interested New Eastsiders can get a “virtual tag” online here and simply drop off gifts at any Salvation Army location. 

And, if none of these stir your emotions, there is no shortage of additional opportunities to help those in need. Finding something that resonates with you can be as simple as going to a charity website to find what they need, or making a donation to spread cheer and warm hearts throughout the holidays.

— Angela Gagnon

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