Humboldt Park

Salvation Army in Chicago Hosts Breakfast, Toy Giveaway For Families on Christmas

On a frigid Christmas morning in Chicago, all appeared quiet about the Salvation Army Freedom Center.

But inside, a free pancake breakfast was being served, along with a visit from the Jolly man himself: Santa Claus.

The Salvation Army in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood on Sunday opened up its doors to not only feed those in the community, but to offer toys to children on Christmas day.

"We’ve already have served the families here," said Captain Jennifer Clanton, "But with this extra, it gives those who may not have had time to sign up for Christmas a chance to get a toy for their child that they might not have had before.”

That means a lot to those who had the opportunity to pick out that special toy.

"We’re honoring my parents who passed away last year who used to work at Freedom Center," said Mark Vander Kooi, who's family was volunteering at the center, "So, we did this as a kid and wanted to honor them with what we’re doing.”

According to The Vander Kooi family, the most rewarding part of the day was the feeling giving back.

"Just seeing the appreciation from people who really, truly do enjoy everything you’re giving to them," said Jackson Vander Kooi. "Deep down from the bottom of their heart is just really special to see.”

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