It’s been a long and eventful holiday season for Kidz Korna and Flags of the Heart for Veterans, who had to endure the theft of more than $50,000 worth of toys and gifts before their traditional “Forty Block Giveaway Tour” this year.
Thanks to a furious fundraising and toy donation drive, the giveaway went forward as scheduled this week, providing thankful residents of all ages with a brighter holiday season.
“We were particularly excited about computers, because normally we’re short of (items) to give to teens,” Kidz Korna founder and CEO Delece Williams said. “We specifically gave to teens this year, and they got jewelry and gift cards as well.”
Corporate and private donations played a huge role in replacing the stolen gifts, which vanished when thieves made off with a trailer full of gifts from the Englewood neighborhood earlier this year.
“The people of Chicago showed up and showed out. They didn’t leave us,” Williams said.
According to Williams, the gift tour made stops in Gary, Indiana, Waukegan and Kankakee, as well as in Chicago.
“I just want to see kids happy for Christmas,” Sharon Preston of Flags of the Heart for Veterans said. “We did a lot of organizing this year to make sure kids were happy for Christmas.”
Students and volunteers shared in that joyous attitude on the special day.
“It’s a special type of season this year,” Chosyn Lockett, a student and a volunteer, said. “I just want to give back to the kids that really don’t have a Christmas, and to make sure they have one this year.”