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7-Jan-22 – It was Christmas as usual for more than 100 Chicago children who might not have otherwise had much of a holiday celebration.

For the 31st year in a row, the underprivileged children, selected by community volunteers and school officials, were treated to gifts and food donated by a lengthy list of generous people and organizations, at an annual event organized by civic leader Kathy Posner with the assistance of the Chicago Police Department.

From 1990 through 2019, Dick’s Last Resort hosted the event, complete with buffet, carolers, and activities. For the past two years, the event has been scaled down, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The December 18 holiday party was held in a parking lot decorated with giant reindeer and penguins at CPD’s 18th District headquarters in River North.

“When I created this event 31 years ago, I never imagined that Christmas in 2021 would be like this,” said Posner. “But realizing that the children needed gifts this year more than ever, I knew we had to keep the tradition going.”

Wendy B. Hauser

Bused in from area schools and churches, the children received toys and other gifts direct from Santa Claus (left). They could also pick out coats, hats, gloves, and scarves.

Each family got a turkey donated by Reverend Roderick Williams of the Chicago Apostolic Center. Other gifts were donated by 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins, 17th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, Cook County Commissioner Bridget Degnen, State Senator Sara Feignenholtz, and State Representatives Lakesia Collins and Margaret Croke.

Posner says in the 31 years since the event began, more than $300,000 has been spent on gifts and food that were provided to more than 3,000 children.

Photos by Wendy B. Hauser