Evanston holiday drive aims to give back to community



Every year around the winter holidays, Evanston holds its annual Mayor’s Holiday Food, Book, and Toy Drive. The city collects new toys and non-perishable foods for holiday meals such as stuffing, yams and green beans. 

Between Nov. 5 and Dec. 10, several locations accepted donations to ensure that all families in Evanston can have what they need to celebrate. Financial donations could also be made to help the Evanston Parks Foundation buy food and toys in bulk. 

The food and toy drive is built on the generosity of Evanston residents. In past years, there have been volunteers, but last year, due to COVID-19, none were able to provide support.

Ken Cherry, recreational manager of Fleetwood-Jourdain, a donation-accepting location, said in an interview with Chicago Tribune last year, “COVID has changed everything… it affected the volunteers. We can’t have them in.” 

A donation for $10 is the cost of a new toy or book, and $250 donation means a holiday dinner for five families of four and ten new toys. The drive supports many Evanston families every year, especially in COVID-19 times when many people have lost their jobs and are struggling financially. 

“There’s good in this town. There’s so much good here. So many people care about their neighbors—care about the community—and what this does for me every year is remind me of the good that’s in this town,” Cherry said in the same interview.