On Dec. 17, students from St. Athanasius School (right) loaded a truck with non-perishable food items for the Hillside Pantry. The campaign was called “Yes We CAN Make a Difference!”  The students’ goal for their 2015 Advent Service Project was to collect 1,800 cans or boxes of non-perishables, and the 300 students exceeded that amount by almost 50%, collecting 2,500 in all.  Many students went door-to-door in their neighborhoods to collect the food.

When she joined @properties (left), real estate agent Lynn Heidt brought with her the tradition of holiday giving. This year she and her colleagues collected enough money to purchase holiday dinners for 35 families: ham, sweet potatoes, baking potatoes, pineapple, corn, rolls and pie. They donated dinners and leftover money to Family Focus.

The real estate agents – Lene Thomas, Martin Uthe, Stuart Schwartz, Jeff Holcolmb, Ms. Heidt, Sarah Coward, Yvonne Sito and Carrie Sullivan – particularly noted the generosity of Valli Produce in Evanston Plaza, which, by providing discounts, enabled them to purchase more food.

Finally, the City’s seventh annual Holiday Food & Toy Drive on Dec. 18 provided customized food and gift baskets to 400 families in need.