It is honestly one of our favorite charitable projects of the year for Oak Park and River Forest. The Holiday Food and Gift Basket program connects in so many community-affirming ways.

And now, in this Thanksgiving week with referrals for holiday gifts from local families at an all-time high the gift basket program finds itself still short of sponsors. There’s still time to jump in and help.

We believe it will be the most gratifying thing you do for yourself and for others during this sharing holiday. Some 2,300 local people will benefit. That’s up 300 from a year ago.

Here’s how this program works: Sponsored by the Community of Congregations for decades, the gift basket program solicits referrals from school social workers, elder housing, and social service agencies to identify individuals and families with skimpy resources who might go without holiday gifts this year. The program then solicits sponsors and matches them with specific, though anonymous, families with needs. Often the gift requests are for foundational needs like a set of sheets or pajamas.

The sponsors range from institutions like OPRF High School, which always comes in big, to small local outfits like Growing Community Media, which “adopts” a single family. You could be a sponsor. You should be a sponsor. Send an email right now to

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