One of the great social projects in Oak Park and River Forest is the Holiday Food and Gift Basket Program. Once a year, the villages come together with hundreds of people jumping in to make the holidays happen for hundreds of our other neighbors who are in tough straits.

The most visible piece of the ingeniously coordinated giving is the actual presents. A senior needs a bathrobe, a little girl wants a video game. Donors and recipients are matched and magic happens.

Less obvious is the food gift card piece of the program. Every family receiving presents also gets a small gift card to make a holiday meal possible. Raising the money needed for those gift cards is now underway. And with more than 900 families anticipated to be on the receiving end this year, the program is looking to raise $30,000. Combining some early gifts and some cash reserves, volunteers are already at $17,000. Jump in to help raise the remaining $13,000. Send your check to HFGB, Box 3365, Oak Park, IL 60303. And monitor the generosity of your neighbors at

Join the discussion on social media!