‘Hometown hero:’ Kanye West buys thousands of gifts for Chicago toy drive
"He has truly been our modern-day Santa Claus," a local politician said of Yeezy on Sunday.
A Chicago-area toy drive took place over the weekend, with thousands of toys given away, after receiving a generous donation from the native rapper formerly known as Kanye West.
The billionaire mogul, who legally changed his name to “Ye” in October, bought clothing and nearly all of the estimated 4,000 toys given away Sunday afternoon to local residents inside a gymnasium at Kennedy-King College in the city’s Englewood neighborhood, according to ABC News affiliate WLS-TV.
Chicago Alderman Stephanie Coleman partnered with Ye whom she called a “hometown hero,” and local business owners to organize the “Toys for Englewood” giveaway. Families who attended the event also were treated to food, games and prizes as they waited for their toys, the news site reported.
“I’m so proud that Kanye is, once again, responding to our request to help the children of Englewood and beyond,” Coleman told WLS on Sunday. “This Christmas, he has truly been our modern-day Santa Claus.”
Ye reportedly didn’t show up for the event, according to multiple sources, but Santa Claus attended and met a flock of smiling children, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“[There’s] a lot of babies who may have not have gotten anything or whatever the case,” Englewood resident Joseph Williams told the newspaper Sunday. “We need this type of joy and everybody coming together like this.”
Ye was the subject of several recent controversies this fall.
Last week, the Daily Beast accused his 2020 presidential campaign of illegally failing to report to the Federal Elections Commission that it received millions in services from an alleged secret network of Republican operatives. Ye’s publicity team did not respond to theGrio’s request for comment on The Daily Beast investigation.
That news came after Reuters uncovered a video of Ye’s veteran publicist, Trevian Kutti, pressuring a Georgia election worker to lie about committing election fraud in 2020.
Coleman and her fellow Alderman Jeanette Taylor told the Sun-Times that their Sunday afternoon toy giveaway illustrated obvious financial need in their communities, which have suffered from a disproportionate amount of gun violence and divestment.
“We could afford to take care of the people in our communities. There’s just no political will,” Taylor told the newspaper. “And so while this is the season of giving, myself and Alderwoman Coleman, we do this on a consistent basis because we care about our communities.”
Coleman praised and offered her gratitude to Ye for donating to the event.
“He is our hometown hero, and we want to thank him for understanding that children in Englewood, and on the South Side and in Chicago in general, some will be without this holiday,” she said. “Some are without their fathers due to gun violence, due to mass incarceration, so today, we are here being a blessing.”
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