Chicago mom honors life of son killed in shooting with annual holiday toy drive

A Chicago mother is honoring her son’s life with a second annual holiday toy drive.

"Janari was just an inspiration to the community of the Near North Side, and he always had a joyful spirit," said his mother Jalisa Ford.

In July 2020, 9-year-old Janari Ricks was playing with friends outside the Cabrini-Green townhomes. A gunman fired into the parking lot striking and killing Janari.

Janari Ricks | Provided

Last year, the foundation Jalisa created in her son’s memory donated 10,000 toys to the community. She has the same goal this year, collecting brand new gifts for children and teens ages 3 to 17.


"Holiday time was his favorite time of the year. He always wanted to give back to others, and just show his appreciation in the community," said Jalisa.

Toys or monetary donations can be given to the foundation for their mission. You can visit for more information. Gifts will be collected through December 17.