The Midtown community came together just before Christmas to assemble and deliver Christmas baskets to nearly 300 Chicago families in need. Midtown Parent Program Director Carlos Martinez organized the project, which brought students, Midtown staff, volunteers and friends of Midtown together in a community event to brighten the Christmas season for families across Chicago.
To identify families for deliveries, Martinez worked with local fellow nonprofits, schools and churches including El Valor (Little Village), Look Up & Live (south side), YMCA Healthy Beginnings (west side), Talcott Elementary (north side), Smyth Elementary School (near west side), House of Prayer Church (south side), and HOPE/St. Pius (Pilsen).
Using funds from the annual Bucktown Pub Chili Cook-off and donations from local businesses, Martinez and Midtown staff compiled the supplies for each family. Each basket included a Christmas ham, additional food for a holiday meal, and gifts and toys for children in each family. Midtown students and staff worked together to assemble the baskets, and Martinez organized volunteers and Friends of Midtown to distribute the baskets to families all over the city.
MEF Director Glenn Wilke remembers delivering Christmas baskets when he tutored at Midtown while in college. Wilke stated the Midtown Christmas Basket project has been happening for at least 35 years, a tradition of giving that will continue to grow with the Midtown community.