Hundreds of families will have gifts under the tree thanks to generous Chicagoans

December 22, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The organization is helping hundreds of area families put gifts under their trees, just in time for Christmas.

"It feels great, especially for my kids," said recipient Alexander Johnson who got gifts for his family

The 16th Annual "Christmas in the Wards" event grew by over 100 families this year and the Salvation Army hosted the event in their new state-of-the art Kroc Center in the West Pullman neighborhood.

"I think Alderman Austin and Alderman Harris ought to be commended for the good work they do in reaching out to the families who maybe are in need and are reluctant to come forward," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.

"It is always exciting to see the joy that these kids, on their faces when they come, it's truly unbelievable," event organizer Larry Huggins said. "It's something I'm very passionate about"

The toy donations, which include from bikes, iPads and computers, all came from local businesses. Thousands of children will benefit.

Thanks to those donations, families like the Johnsons can put big boxes under their trees.

"Sometimes we all need a helping hand," Janice Johnson said.

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