Members of  the Chessmen Club deliver food baskets for Christmas.                                           RoundTable photo

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Every December for the last 52 years, the Chessmen Club of the North Shore has remembered the less fortunate, and this year was no different. On Dec. 19, the Chessmen gave out 275 food baskets at various schools, social service organizations and senior centers throughout Evanston, including Lincolnwood and Oakton Elementary Schools, Jacob Blake Manor, Walchirk apartments, Pearlman Apartments, Ebenezer Prim Towers and Family Focus. A turkey or roaster was included in each basket.

Keith Terry, president of the Chessmen Club, said the Christmas Food Basket Program reaches 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 Chessmen 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 awards to encourage students to continue their academic and career pursuits, to increase the number of Christmas food baskets distributed to the elderly and families in the Evanston area and to expand their support of other charitable activities in the North Shore area.

Toys Brighten the Holidays

Spreading holiday cheer, the Evanston Holiday Food and Toy Drive and the Universal Agape Foundation distributed toys and food to families whose Christmas may have been a little bleaker without them. The sixth annual l Holiday Food & Toy Drive provided customized food and gift baskets to more than 450 families, thanks to generous donations from residents, community members and visitors.
The day-long event, held on Dec. 19 at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, was filled with joyful musical performances from Gwen Edmonds, pianist, Chute and Nichols middle schools, and Martin Luther King Junior Literary and Fine Arts School. Members of the Evanston Police and Fire Departments helped recipients carry heavy items, the Evanston Public Library handed out free books for children and adults, and 311 representatives provided information and answered questions regarding City services.  
The next day, Dec. 20, Universal Agape Foundation and Reverend Richard Mosley had their second annual Christmas HOPE toy giveaway for more than 100 children and their families at Hemenway United Methodist Church.
The families entered a magical Christmas wonderland and enjoyed snacks, refreshments, face painting, balloon twisting, pictures with Santa and sing-alongs. The children received toys and were participated in raffles for bikes, stereos, televisions and a notebook tablet. Universal Agape Foundation wanted to provide toys to underserved children of the Evanston community and make their Christmas joyous. Based on the excitement of the families and the smiles on the faces of the children, the event was a great success.