IRVING PARK — An Irving Park neighbor is bringing back a toy drive so families in need can get holiday gifts while meeting Santa.
Julie Weber is collecting new and gently used toys until Dec. 10. Donations can be dropped off during business hours at the offices of State Rep. Jaime Andrade, 3007 W. Irving Park Rd., and Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd), 3001 W. Irving Park Rd. You can also drop donations at the UPS store, 4044 N. Lincoln Ave.
Kids and families can stop by Weber’s home in the 3800 block of North Sacramento Avenue 12-7 p.m. Dec. 11 to get a toy and meet Santa.
“Children always love new toys but we’ll absolutely take gently used toys too. Just as long as they have all their parts,” Weber said.
Weber got the idea for the event last year after overhearing her son’s class doing online learning at home.
“I heard a classmate say the family didn’t have a lot of money right now and my heart broke,” Weber said. “I started thinking about the other kids in our school district that are in the same boat with parents who couldn’t work.”
Weber remembered she had a Santa costume at home and decided to organize an event last year with the neighborhood mom network. Her front porch was decorated like a Christmas wonderland and kids could pick up gifts and meet Santa in an open-air setting to reduce the risk of COVID-19.
More than 500 kids stopped by Weber’s home last year. Danny Scott, owner of the Lincoln Avenue UPS store, said donations already have been pouring in for the giveaway.
“I have a big box on my floor that we’ve already emptied twice for Julie,” Scott said.
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