Members of the Chessman Club ready to unload a truck containing food baskets at Lincolnwood School on Dec. 22. Pictured above, not in order, include Chessman Club members Keith Terry, Peter Braithwaite, Neil Davidson, Bill Logan, George Dotson, Robert Reece, Markham Thomas, Jim Davis and Fred Hunter.

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Every December for the last 50 years, The Chessman Club of the North Shore has given back to the less fortunate, and this year was no different. On Dec. 22, the Chessman gave out 320 food baskets at various schools, social service organizations and senior centers throughout Evanston, including Lincolnwood and Oakton Elementary Schools, Jacob Blake Manor and Family Focus. A turkey or roaster was included in each basket.

Keith Terry, president of the Chessman Club and former president of the District 65 School Board, told the RoundTable the club was formed 54 years ago. He said the Christmas Food Basket Program is an attempt to reach out to the community, to seniors and to those who are less fortunate.

“The Chessmen Club is a group of black men active in the community and is one of the oldest and most prestigious, non-profit organizations in the North Shore area,” said Mr. Terry. “Organized exclusively for charitable purposes, the Chessmen Club seeks to support activities beneficial to youth, seniors and families on the North Shore Community.”

Peter Braithwaite, vice-president of the club and alderman of the Second Ward, told the RoundTable the Chessman are “dedicated to providing for the community’s elders and investing in the community’s future through scholarships for the next generation.”

He said the club’s current priorities are to expand the number of educational scholarships and book awards to encourage students to continue their academic and career pursuits, to increase the number of Christmas food baskets distributed to the elderly and the families in the Evanston area, and to expand their support of other charitable activities in the North Shore area.