Whatever It Takes: Help Children’s Home & Aid Provide Warm Clothing, Essentials and Gifts to Chicago-Area Families in Need

Every year, Children’s Home & Aid hosts its annual Holiday Gift Drive where we provide gifts, warm clothing, and essential home items — like diapers and formula — for the children and families we partner with across the Chicagoland area. This year, our need is more than double any of the previous 30 holiday seasons that we have hosted this event. Because of the pandemic, we are hoping to provide more than 4,500 children, youth and families with gift cards, donated or bulk, purchased through cash donations. This year, we are putting the purchasing power into the hands of families because we believe they know best what they need this holiday season.

In past years, Children’s Home & Aid’s Holiday Campaign has supported more than 2,000 children, youth, and their families through the donation of holiday gifts from our generous partners. Kids and parents fill out wish lists of their wants and needs, often requesting items like toys & games, warm winter clothing, and household essentials. 

The pandemic has been challenging for everyone in our community, and much more so for many of our families who were already experiencing considerable stress and crises before the pandemic began. We’ve seen parents and caregivers lose employment or have work schedules drastically reduced; kids and parents struggle to transition to virtual learning; families lose their homes despite eviction moratoriums; and considerable additional stress placed on families just going about their daily lives. While we will continue to raise funds through the new year, as of December 10 we have received enough support to reach over 2,200 people, and expect we can support even more as we fundraise through January. Help us do #WhateverItTakes to provide extra support to more than 4,500 people this winter.

We continue to fundraise through early January, however, as of December 8 we have raised more than $72,000 in revenue, with additional pledges for over $35,000 and more than 200 gift cards donated.

Donor Town Hall

As part of Children’s Home & Aid’s efforts to better connect our work to our partners in virtual settings, we hosted a Donor Town Hall on December 10. In addition to inviting donors to our Holiday Campaign, we hosted partners from several organizations including Groupon, the Chicago White Sox Charities, The Siragusa Family Foundation, and Illinois State Representative Michelle Mussman, (56th District).

Children’s Home & Aid CEO Mike Shaver kicked off the event with an introduction to our work and the impact COVID has had on families in our programs across the community. Tara Harper, Senior Director of Institutional Relations, Equity, and Inclusion moderated the panel, which brought together staff from our early childhood programming including Rayshonda McElroy, Director of Education & Child Development Services, Michelle Ellis, M.B.A, Manager of Parent and Family Services, and Valerie Smith, Home Base Program Supervisor.

In addition to providing this educational opportunity, staff shared the amazing impact our partners’ dollars have on kids and families in our programs who are experiencing heightened need this year, now more than ever.

Drive Sponsors

We have so many amazing partners who support the Holiday Campaign including parents who want their children to understand the importance of kindness; families of our staff who know how vital their support is to our work; and amazing corporate partners. We’re so grateful for the support of our community! Some of our biggest partners this year included employees from PepsiCo, Groupon, BMO Harris Bank, the Chicago White Sox, the Chicago Cubs, ITW, Radio Flyer, William Blair, CTS Impact, Meeting Tomorrow, and Merlin’s 200,000 Mile Shops. In addition to the support received from our corporate partners, we are also grateful for the leadership and support of Children’s Home & Aid’s Board of Trustees, Woman’s Board, Hinsdale Auxiliary, and Young Professionals Board.

About Children’s Home & Aid

Founded in 1883, Children’s Home & Aid is a leading child and family service agency in Illinois. For 137 years, Children’s Home & Aid has been recognized for establishing best practices and achieving outstanding results through its programs and services that focus on child abuse prevention, healthy child development, and strengthening families. Children’s Home & Aid’s mission is to partner with children, youth, and families whose potential is at risk to create hope, opportunity, and bright futures. Our vision is that all children, youth, and families thrive in strong communities.