'Uniting for the Holidays' meal giveaway spreads holiday joy in Robbins

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Saturday, December 2, 2023
United Way meal giveaway spreads holiday joy in Robbins
A food giveaway in south suburban Robbins, hosted by United Way of Metro Chicago, had volunteers "Uniting for the Holidays."

ROBBINS, Ill. (WLS) -- A meal giveaway in south suburban Robbins Friday spread joy for the holidays.

It was part of series of events hosted by United Way of Metro Chicago, called "Uniting for the Holidays."

People get a meal, gifts, and more.

The need for help is even greater this year than years past.

Car lined up outside the Robbins Park District with drivers waiting to pick up a box of holiday joy, including basic food items.

The United Way will distribute some five hundred of these boxes here... with several other similar suburban events plans in the next couple weeks.

"Oftentimes the suburbs get overlooked as far as the need," United Way volunteer L. Marie Asad said. "We're really happy to support this initiative every year."

Dozens of volunteers packed hundreds of bags to hand out to families.

For the majority of clients who have kids, the bags they include toys and stuffed animals. The need is great. United Way officials say they have seen a huge increase about 30 percent in the number of people who are employed but still in need of help.

"I think we're seeing the effect of inflation with the rising cost of food, housing and other resources," United Way Chief Development Officer Chris Preston said.

Meanwhile, Blue Island volunteers stocked the shelves at their food pantry. They got a delivery Friday from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which will allow the pantry to help feed people in the community.

They said the need for the food and household items is growing, but the supply is not.

"It's increased. We used to support about 75," said Margaret Pyzik with Blue Cap. "Now it's between 100 to 300 that are coming in every week."

In addition to the families picking up boxes in Robbins, United Way will also deliver more boxes to residents at a local senior center.

In the next couple of weeks, United Way plans to be in other communities, including Ford Heights and Elgin.