Partnership event with Black Men United and 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris offered COVID testing; distributed food, electronics, warm coats
By Joseph Phillips
Crusader Sports Editor
Christmas in the Wards in collaboration with Black Men United and multiple political figures hosted a food giveaway Saturday, March 27, at the Harold Washington Elementary School parking lot, 9130 S. University.
The event, which took place in the Burnside community on Chicago’s South Side, was hosted by the founder of CITW and the Chicago Football Classic, Larry Huggins, 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris, Senator Elgie Sims and Commissioner of the 4th District, Stanley Moore.
The group designed the event in support of Chicago area families affected by the pandemic.
“Black Men United has embarked on a mission to spread joy to families experiencing tough economic times due to the pandemic,” said the CITW organization via press release.
“Teaming up with Christmas in the Wards, which has provided an amazing Christmas holiday for tens of thousands of families over 20 years throughout the city, Black Men United has a lofty goal…to bring together communities and ‘Stop the Violence.’”
The group gathered on Saturday afternoon to help distribute 1,000 boxes of food, five laptops, 100 Air Fryers, 100 mini-refrigerators; free COVID testing, PPEs, hats, coats and more to the residents of the 8th Ward.
“COVID testing will be provided by GreenMCMeds and everyone is eligible via The CARES Act,” said CITW via its early press release prior to the March 27 event.
“This is one of three events scheduled for the 8th Ward which is just a fraction of the plans Reverend John Harrell has for the City of Chicago.”
Harrell, founder of Black Men United and pastor of Proviso Missionary Baptist Church, has set a goal of weekly food giveaways from March 2021 to October 2021.
Harrell reached out to Huggins, CITW founder, to continue the spirit of holiday giving throughout the year.
Prior to the giveaway Harrell said, “This is really an anti-violence event,” and added, “We are providing a service…giving away food and necessities to families who were hit hard by the pandemic. However, our goal is to bring people together.
“We envision that this event opens a dialogue among those who would not normally talk to each other. We seek to bring Hope to the Hopeless and Encourage those who need Encouragement…the mission is to bring communities together.”
Harrell said in creating the food giveaway he wanted to present an opportunity for “attendees to get to know each other and hopefully stand together against the violence that’s plaguing their community.”
“Burnside is a wonderful historic community with wonderful neighbors,” commented Alderman Harris. “They are very deserving of outreach and engagement.”
Founded by local businessman Larry Huggins, CEO of Riteway-Huggins Construction, Christmas in the Wards began as Christmas in Englewood as a grassroots fundraising operation. It has developed into a 501c3 non-profit organization supported by individuals, local businesses, and Fortune 500 companies.
“Each year, Christmas in the Wards serves Chicago’s underserved families and children through giving the gift of Christmas, the spirit of hope, and a mission of love,” said the CITW organization.