Jennifer Hudson celebrates season of giving in Chicago

Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson and her sister Julia handed out toys to kids Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, as part of the 4th annual Julian D. King Foundation Toy Drive.

December 24, 2012 4:15:36 PM PST
Chicago-native Jennifer Hudson is in town to celebrate the season of giving by providing 50-thousand holiday presents for needy children.

Regina Reed is one person who benefited from Hudson's generosity.

"I needed a little help this time," said Reed.

Her two grandchildren were able to choose their own gifts and meet a hometown celebrity they admire.

Hudson and her sister Julia Hudson have been giving back to the community for years through the program, which is named after the singer's late nephew Julian.

"There is more to life than the block you live on and I want to help expose people to that. I want to give back and show those kids if I can do it you can too," Hudson said.

"I like helping people and this has allowed me to do what I like to do. We're showing people that others care," said Julia Hudson, who organizes the event.

She begins shopping for toys in September.

This year, thousands of families began lining up outside of the Kroc Community Center as early as 3:00 a.m. Monday morning.

"We wanted to try and get in to get them some educational tools to help them with school," said Nicole Jackson, who was first in line.

Organizing the event is no small feat. Almost 100 volunteers contributed their time to help others. They say they enjoyed every minute of it.

"I grew up with the Hudson girls and the spirit of giving and just being a blessing to other people," said volunteer Darius Monroe.

Hudson says she has kept up with the tradition for the sheer joy of watching children's faces light up as they receive presents they otherwise may not have access to.

"I did not forget about home, we did not forget about home, and so we want to give back and show our people that there is so much more out there and positive comes from where you come from," said Hudson.