Midtown Center Delivers Christmas Cheer

It’s that time of the year again when the staff and volunteers at the Midtown Center for boys package and deliver Christmas baskets to more than 300 Chicago area families and elderly citizens in need. The cheerful green-and-red baskets contain ample foodstuffs for a holiday meal as well as toys for families with children under the age of 18.

Carlos Martinez, Midtown Center Parent Program Manager, has been involved with the holiday project since he was a student attending Midtown. “This is something that I was a part of as a kid, and it’s neat to be handling it all now,” he said. “It gives us a great sense of joy knowing that we are able to help those in need.”  The Christmas basket project is now in its 35th year.

Martinez works through his many contacts and connections in the Chicago community to identify needy families, then manages a group of volunteers who deliver the baskets to schools, community centers and doorsteps on the Saturday before Christmas. 

Martinez credits Santa’s Volunteers for generously providing most of the toys and games, Smithfield Foods for supplying 10-lb. hams, T H Ryan Cartage Company for offering transportation services, and Riveron Consulting, William Blair and Larry Bilello for helping with Saturday deliveries.

“Without all the support we receive every year, the Christmas basket project wouldn’t be the success that it is today”,
— Gabe Avalos, Midtown Alum and Midtown’s Senior Programs Assistant
by Katie Morgan, MEF Marketing Intern