CHICAGO - A group of high school athletes made Chicago proud as they held a massive toy drive to make the holiday special for thousands of area kids.
The student athletes come from high schools in both the city and the suburbs, united in the cause of helping those less fortunate. They've hitched their toy drive to Chance the Rapper's charity event, where their work will spread joy.
The high school soccer players are from the Buddy's Helpers nonprofit group, and they've spent a month collecting the toys and writing holiday cards for deserving families. From bikes and trikes to trucks and wagons, a towering shipment of toys is now ready for delivery.
"As you can see today, it's so much more than high school soccer," said Madison Ekern, who attends Whitney Young High School.
The toys will be given away Wednesday night at the Field Museum, where Chance the Rapper will host his "Night at the Museum" holiday event, a showcase of giving, unity and thoughtfulness.
"This has been such a rewarding experience," said Angelina Moore, who attends Maine South High School.
The student athletes said they're teaming with Chance to help fulfill their service motto: "Making a difference on and off the field."
"I think everybody else here enjoys helping others and this has just been so awesome to help, and know that we are making a difference in the lives of others," Moore said.
The athletes are all competitors in the PepsiCo Tournament, which is the largest high school soccer tournament in the nation. It involves more than 200 schools.