Members of the Chessmen stand at the rear of the truck used for delivering food baskets at Lincolnwood Elementary School.                                      RoundTable photo

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Every December for the last 53 years, the Chessmen Club of the North Shore has remembered the less fortunate, and this year was no different. On Dec. 18, the Chessmen handed out 337 food baskets at various schools, social service organizations, and apartment buildings for seniors throughout Evanston.

Members of the Chessmen started the day with an early breakfast at the Original Pancake House, then picked up the food baskets at Valli Produce at Evanston Plaza. Their first distribution site was Lincolnwood Elementary School, followed by distributions to Perlman Apartments, Victor Walchirk Apartments, Ebenezer Prim Towers, Jacob Blake Manor, Grandmothers Raising Kids, Connections for the Homeless, Family Focus, and Oakton Elementary School.  A turkey or roaster was included in each basket.

Adrian Brewington, president of the Chessmen Club, told the RoundTable, “For more than 50 years, we have been distributing food baskets. We enjoy it. It’s one of the best events of the year. With continued support from the community, we plan to do it for years to come.”

“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 Keith Terry, former president of the club. “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, a member of the club and alderman of the Second Ward, told the RoundTable, “This is the hallmark of the Chessmen, and we’re happy to help those in need.” Bill Logan, a co-founder of the club, said, “We know there’s always needy persons. One of our goals is to help the neediest people in the community.”

The club’s 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 support other community youth activities, such as the Fellowship of Afro-American Men youth basketball league.