Annual Christmas in the Wards laptop giveaway spreads holiday cheer to kids across Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Hundreds of families received a special early Christmas gift Saturday to help with their education.

It's a longtime tradition in the city that helped supply 250 families across Chicago's 40 wards with laptops in a push for education during the holidays.


Mayor Lightfoot carried on the 25-year-old tradition that's been passed down from past administrations over the last two decades.

"Fundamentally, this is about making sure that our families that have kids in need know that our city loves them,' said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. "This is a challenging time, not only in Chicago but all across the country."

More than 200 laptops, toys and other gifts were given out at "Christmas in the Wards" to help local children have a merry Christmas this year.

"It's about education. The laptops are tools these families need," said Larry Huggins, Christmas in the Wards founder and chairman. "That's important to us and I feel happy we're able to do that and the fact that over 25 years this event has grown to be in all 40 wards."

Along with the laptops, the families are got toys, fresh produce and many more items as Santa and a number volunteers join Chicago's elected officials to continue the holiday tradition.


"During the time and age, a lot of people don't have much and the pandemic has put a lot of strain on acquiring different things and this is great," said Roy Portillo.

Portillo's son was selected to receive some of the day's gifts because his school selected him in a senior appreciation program.

It's a tradition this family is thankful for today.
"Always a pleasure. Always a pleasure to see they're trying to back people up and help people out," Portillo said.

Despite the cold and rainy morning, it was no match for the holiday cheer.


"Giving back, that's the fundamental thing for rugby," said Frikkie, a Chicago Lions player. "Giving back to the community and put your time into them and just let everybody know we're here for you and help you in difficult times like today."

The event kicked off at 9:00 a.m. at Soldier Field with Mayor Lightfoot and former Mayor Richard Daley present.

The laptops are to support families in a push for education and there were also a number of giveaways and toys handed out too. Walgreens is even offering families a free COVID-19 or flu shot on-site.

Larry Huggins, founder and chairman of Christmas in the Wards, said it's all about providing educational resources.
"It's about education," Huggins said. "The laptops are tools these families need... that's important to us and I feel happy we're able to do that and the fact that over 25 years this event has grown to be in all 40 wards."
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