PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria community came together to spread a little holiday cheer and plenty of presents on Saturday, Dec. 18, at the first-ever Toyz N Da Neighborhood event.
The event was held at the Tri-County Urban League and the East Bluff Community Center from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and was hosted by YANI Collective, Councilman Andre W. Allen, Black Chamber of Commerce, and Product of the Project. Marc Supreme, Program Director for 90.7 FM and one of the organizers from YANI Collective, said the goal of Saturday’s event was to make sure no families went without Christmas presents this year.
“Christmas time can be a very stressful time for those that are living in poverty,” Supreme said. “Those that have children, they want to be able to provide and give them the same Christmas that the next family is able to give and wants to give.”
The event had registered 675 children come pick out any gift of their choice. Families could also get free haircuts and a lunch, gift cards to local businesses, boxes of food provided by Peoria Area Food Bank, and access helpful resources.
“What we’re trying to do is take a little bit of burden off those parents that may have kids and want to be able to provide something and that’s what this is all about.” Supreme said.
Greg Wilson, the President of Peoria Public Schools and a member of YANI, said Christmas is about collaboration and giving together. He said that is what is at the heart of the Toyz N Da Neighborhood event.
“We all need to be one, we all need to get together,” Wilson said. “We all need to share in the gift that is the holidays.”
Guests that registered for th event got a huge surprise when they left, too–a new desktop computer. Supreme said it was important to the team to not only help people have a great holiday, but to also support them into the new year.
“During COVID there was a lot of E-learning, a lot of computer work and things,” Supreme said. “We just wanted to make sure the families were supported in that technological aspect to where they can get the things that they need to get done, done.”
Supreme and Wilson said they’re thankful to all the volunteers and organizations that helped donate and make the event a reality.
“It’s a really good feeling to have everybody be able to support everything and then also give back to the community,” Supreme said.