CHICAGO – A mother who lost her son to gun violence in 2020 continues her mission to bring joy to children in Chicago.
Last year, Jalisa Ford organized the first One Jar Foundation Holiday Toy Drive and she’s getting ready to do it again.
“So much joy and excitement for me, in my heart, just wonderful to see smiles on children’s faces and do a good deed for my community,” Ford said.
The heartwarming display of holiday gifts came just months after she suffered an indescribable loss.
Her son, 9-year-old Janari Ricks, an honors student who loved sports and Christmas, was shot and killed while playing outside the homes in the Cabrini-Green row.
“It’s such a tragic moment that he is no longer here with us, but he is here in the spirit. I know that holiday time is such a tragic moment and a happy time to be with family and friends, so it’s important for me for the holidays because it was special for him and also special for me, ”Ford said.
Ford said she leans on faith, positivity and purpose. To honor Janari’s memory by spreading support to children in the neighborhood with the joy of a new toy.
“With the Toy Drive and One Jar Foundation, giving back to the Near North Side community has just been a blessing,” Ford said.
She is collecting donations right now and new toys will be handed out to children on December 18 at Holy Family Church.
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