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Short 5,000 Gifts, Chicago-Area Charity Asks For Help

For nearly 70 years the Catholic Charities has been collecting toys for needy children. But this year thousands of kids could wake up Christmas morning without a present—but the generosity of strangers can help. Ash-har Quraishi reports. (Published Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016)

For nearly 70 years the Catholic Charities has been collecting toys for needy children. But this year thousands of kids could wake up Christmas morning without a present—but the generosity of strangers can help.

Inside the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago—what’s being called “Santa’s Workshop”—volunteers are running out of toys to pack.

Each year Catholic Charities volunteers collect and distribute presents to 25,000 underprivileged kids for Christmas—but they’re still 5,000 gifts short this year.

Marie Jochum, director of volunteer relations for Catholic Charities, recalled a recently arrived child refugee from Iraq who received a toy for Christmas.

“When I brought the gifts to him he said to me: ‘I thought baba Noel, Santa Claus was killed in the bombings in Iraq.’ So, these are our children who’s stories we know and care about.” Jochum said.

The charity says it needs to collect the toys by Wednesday in order to sort and send them to facilities throughout Cook and Lake counties before Christmas.

“We had a few donors pull out at the last minute and that has affected us,” said Marie Jochum, director of volunteer relations for Catholic Charities.

“Maybe you can only give a $5 gift—that’s okay,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to really participate in the community and say ‘these are our families and these are our children and they’re important to us.’”

For more information on how you can help, visit catholiccharities.com.

Published at 10:50 PM CST on Dec 9, 2016 | Updated at 12:14 AM CST on Dec 10, 2016

Published in: Local News

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