Skip to contents
Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop

A Pilsen Holiday Gift Drive Aims To Bring Joy To Neighborhood Seniors

“These bags really do mean a lot to them,” said Cristina Puzio, who organized the drive. She's accepting donations of candles, chocolates and more for gift bags.

Cristina Puzio, left, and seniors at Casa Maravilla before the coronavirus pandemic.
Cristina Puzio
  • Credibility:

PILSEN — After a successful first year, Cristina Puzio is organizing a gift drive for older people in the Pilsen area. 

Puzio and other volunteers are asking neighbors to donate candles, essential oils, coffee mugs, chocolates and other items to put in gift bag for older people in Pilsen and Little Village. Puzio said Popocatepetl Tortilleria has also pledged to donate packs of tortillas. 

A complete list of donations can be found here. Gifts can be dropped off 8:30 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. at the Pilsen Satellite Senior Center, 2021 S. Morgan St. You can donate until Dec. 16. 

Puzio typically runs a toy drive for kids in December. She said she was inspired to dedicate one to older people since those residents were being hit particularly hard by the pandemic and the isolation of quarantine. 

“I thought, ‘But what about seniors?’” Puzio said. “They’re getting ignored, and they can’t even get out of their house.” 

Puzio and other volunteers made 140 gift bags for older people last year and hope to put together 200 this year. They will be given to the residents of Casa Maravilla, 2021 S. Morgan St., and to other older residents in the area. 

“These bags really do mean a lot to them,” Puzio said.

To collect and distribute the donations, Puziois working with Ricardo Enriquez of the Pilsen Satellite Senior Center, Mayra Ramirez and Maribel Arellano of the Instituto Health Science Career Academy and Sylvia Diaz of the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago, she said.

The bags are being donated courtesy of the Instituto Health Science Career Academy, whose students will help assemble and distribute the gift bags. 

Anyone with questions about donating can contact Cristina Puzio at cristinapuzio8@gmail.com.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation. 

Thanks for subscribing to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods. Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.

Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: