Life Stories

Christmas in the Wards event provides gifts to kids, families in need

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CHICAGO — On Saturday, McCormick Place became a branch of the North Pole.

Presents were stacked high and plenty of politicians came to visit. Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Mayor Lori Lightfoot were just some of the lawmakers who were in attendance Saturday for the Christmas in the Wards celebration.

For more than 20 years, gifts have been given out to families and children In need from more than half of Chicago’s 50 wards. WGN is a sponsor who helps make it happen.

The event started small. It was created by business man Larry Huggins, who has become the Santa of the wards.

“It started for the kids in Englewood because I grew up in Englewood and we just decided to keep it going,” he said.

This year, more than 1,000 kids were given a special gif. Smiles, and memories were made during the event with the hope that more kids will be able to be helped in the future.