Englewood kids got early Christmas

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Christmas came a week early for about 500 kids in the Englewood community as Riteway Construction Co. President Larry Huggins put on his annual event.

Christmas came a week early for about 500 kids in the Englewood community as Riteway Construction Co. President Larry Huggins put on his annual event.

Kids’ eyes were all aglow and the yuletide was bright as the kids received video games, bicycles and other items as part of the Christmas in Englewood event Saturday held at the Ogden Park Fieldhouse, 6500 S. Racine. Huggins started the event in the South Side community over a decade ago and Ald. Latasha Thomas has been involved with the holiday giveaway with him since before she was head of the 17th Ward.

“I wouldn’t have a Christmas without (the giveaway),” Thomas told the Defender. She explained that the children and their families who get gifts are chosen by local block clubs and other community organizations, then Christmas in Englewood workers shop specifically for them.

Huggins explained that this year’s event was made possible by over $75,000 in contributions from local contractors, developers and business owners.

I am thrilled to see fellow businesses, contractors and individuals show their support with this important toy giveaway to the children and their families in the Englewood area. We continue our mission to spread some joy and hope in their lives, especially during these trying times for many families,” Huggins, who founded the program in 1996.

The event draws elected officials and others from all over the city, including alderman and Mayor Richard M. Daley. This year Cubs owner Tom Ricketts was on hand to help spread Christmas joy.

Thomas said that even with the economy down, donors continue to help lift up Christmas in Englewood.

“I am just really amazed and happy at how the donations continue to increase” despite the economy, she said. “People give because they see that it goes directly to kids in need.”

Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender

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