A young girl holds a Christmas present that was donated to her in Chicago

With Christmas only a few months away, it’s never too early to think about how we can give back to those in need. While we’re decorating Christmas cookies with our family, attending workplace Christmas parties, and shopping for that last-minute Christmas gift, there are several families in the Chicagoland area that are trying to figure out how they’re going to fill their children’s stockings this year.

At Pequod’s Pizza, we want to encourage you to make a difference in the life of a child and their family. Check out these local places in Chicago where you can donate not only a toy or two but also provide a memorable Christmas for another Chicago area family.

Lurie’s Children’s Hospital

Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago is one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country. They provide care for children through their cutting-edge treatments and advanced research. The holidays should be a time to spend with family, friends, and loved ones, not in a hospital. If you’d like to brighten up a child’s hospital stay, you can do so by donating toys and gifts in two different ways.

Amazon Wish List

Lurie’s Children’s Hospital makes it easy to donate toys through their Amazon Wish List. The list is updated regularly with age-appropriate toys and other items like blankets and baby supplies. This helps the hospital meet the needs and wishes of their young patients and their families. 

Gift Cards

Another creative way to cheer up the patients at Lurie’s is by donating gift cards in any amount. These small acts of kindness make an incredible impact on the patients and their families. They use the cards to purchase adaptive toys, supplies for special events, and specific toys for the unique needs of their patients. The hospital accepts gift cards from Amazon, Walgreens, Target, and Apple.

Marillac St. Vincent Family Services Christmas Store

Marillac St. Vincent Family Services is one of Chicago’s oldest toy drives. They serve area families through their Christmas store where families can “shop” for all kinds of Christmas items like toys, stocking stuffers, books, games, and clothes. When they’re done shopping, they can have their items gift-wrapped and all ready to be placed under their Christmas trees. Families are also offered a bag of food along with a turkey for a complete Christmas experience.

Toys can be dropped off or mailed to their Chicago location at 2859 W. Jackson Blvd. You can also visit their toy wish list on Amazon and have toys and other items sent directly to their address.

Marine Toys for Tots

The local Chicago chapter of Toys for Tots donates thousands of toys and Christmas gifts to families in Cook County each year. This internationally recognized organization makes it easy to donate as there are over 100 places where you can drop off new, unwrapped toys, books, or games to surprise a child this Christmas. Along with giving new items, you can also give a donation for Toys for Tots to purchase Christmas gifts for the families they support.

Sharing Connections

Sharing Connections serves families in the Chicagoland area by providing them with furniture and housing items such as cribs, beds, tables, dishes, and more. They focus on populations such as the previously homeless, unemployed, immigrants, veterans, and others in need who have housing yet no essentials to make a home. 

This local DuPage County organization accepts donations of all kinds to provide assistance to over 1,000 children and their families each Christmas. There is no donation that is too small. Every single item they receive will be given to a family in need. They accept items such as new toys for boys and girls, new stuffed animals, new board games for families, new outdoor clothing like hats, gloves, and coats, and any other new toys or clothing items. Gift cards from Walmart or Target are accepted as well.

Donations can be dropped off at their address at 5111 Chase Ave. in Downers Grove from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., or Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Becca’s LEGacy

Becca’s LEGacy is a foundation that was created from one child’s dream before she passed away from childhood cancer. Becca wanted to raise awareness of childhood cancer, help find a cure, and give toys to children with cancer who were being hospitalized. Each year, Becca’s LEGacy hosts a toy drive to provide these children with Christmas presents during their hospital stay. When you donate through their Amazon wish list, you will brighten the holidays for children impacted by cancer.

St. Cletus Food Pantry’s Giving Tree

St. Cletus Food Pantry in La Grange organizes a Christmas Giving Tree each year. Individual tags are placed on the tree and include specific items that families have requested for their children for Christmas. They ask that you shop for, gift wrap, and label each present before returning it to their address at 600 W. 55th St. Along with the donated Christmas gifts, each family is given a grocery gift card to help pay for food and other items for their Christmas dinner. 

People’s Resource Center

People’s Resource Center hosts an annual Share the Spirit program to provide Christmas for some of the most vulnerable families in the Chicagoland area. This organization collects books, games, hats, gloves, cocoa, tea, mugs, and gift cards for families each year. They also accept donations from their wish lists at Amazon, Target, and Walmart. Each family receives an assortment of gifts along with gift cards so they can choose appropriate presents for their children. 

Any donations listed above can be dropped off at their Wheaton location at 201 S. Naperville Road or their Westmont location at 104 Chestnut Ave.

Pequod’s Pizza is happy to encourage you to give back this Christmas season. While we’ve mentioned only seven local charities and organizations that provide Christmas for families in need, we understand there are several hundred more in Chicagoland that are also doing some amazing work in our community. Are you already an annual giver to a local Christmas charity? If so, we’d love to hear about it. Contact us to let us know. We’d be more than happy to add it to our list.