Chicago-area student athletes rally together to surprise and help Chance The Rapper make the holiday season brighter for children

They’re competitors on the field, and teammates off the field in the game of life. 

Student athletes from Chicago-area high schools rallied together over the past 30 days to collect more than 10,000 children’s toys and make homemade cards for thousands of children. The massive effort was a part of the Making A Difference On AND Off The Field campaign presented by Buddy’s HELPERS and the PepsiCo Showdown.

“Just like all the professional franchises here in Chicago, it’s really important to all the players in the PepsiCo Showdown to give back to our communities and enhance the lives of others,” student athlete Madison Ekern said. “The PepsiCo Showdown might be the largest high school soccer tournament in the U.S., but it’s much more than just a high school soccer tournament. We all take great pride working together off the field through Buddy’s HELPERS to make a difference.” 

In a moving moment, more than 100 of those student athletes loaded the 10,000 children’s toys on a large Pepsi semitruck and made a surprise delivery to Chance The Rapper and his charity, SocialWorks. They also presented a $2,500 check to Chance The Rapper, who is distributing the toys to children from low-income families throughout the Chicagoland area this holiday season.

Some of those toys will be a part of Chance The Rapper’s big event on Wednesday night at the Field Museum in Chicago. “A Night at the Museum” presented by SocialWorks will showcase the nature of giving, unity and thoughtfulness that this time of the year should exhibit. Additional information may be found at

Buddy’s HELPERS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit uniting Chicago-area high school student athletes and teachers/coaches in an annual community service campaign built around “Making A Difference On AND Off The Field.”

It has engaged hundreds of high schools and thousands of Chicago-area students through the PepsiCo Showdown – the largest high school soccer tournament in the U.S. In 2017, there are 216 high schools and more than 21,500 student athletes a part of the events.


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