We’ve all been sickened by the murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee. Most of us don’t know what to do in the face of such inhumanity. Don’t know where to begin. Don’t know how the madness will ever end.
A basketball that Tyshawn took to school each day reportedly was found near his body. Friends and relatives say he loved the game.
We who have been given much can philosophize all we want that material things are overrated. But things do matter. A coat matters. A toy matters. A basketball matters.
The root cause of much of the violence in Chicago is unemployment and poverty. Poverty begets crime, which begets guns, which begets children being killed for reasons that are apparent to no one in possession of his or her sanity.
There is something we can do, however small, in our helplessness. The Sun-Times Charity Trust’s “Letters to Santa’’ program has begun, and it’s a great way to give holiday gifts to children who come from low-income families. More than 10,000 kids from the Chicago area received presents through the program last year.
It works like this: Through their school or a nonprofit agency, kids write letters to Santa Claus, asking for a particular present. A Santa’s Helper – that would be you, dear reader – is sent one of the letters. You buy a gift in the $25-to-$30 range, wrap it and mail it to your designated child. You make someone very happy.
For more information, go to www.suntimes.com/santa or call 312-321-3114 to request a kid’s letter. Or two. Maybe some of them will want a basketball.