Katten Muchin Rosenman attorneys and staff have geared up for their usual strong holiday season support of their local communities. Around the firm’s offices, “elves” can be seen wrapping presents, assembling bikes and making donations of time, money and toys.
In Katten’s Chicago office, the firm’s annual “Letters to Santa” program with Direct Effect Charities has officially launched. Children from Chicago’s neediest schools, from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, write letters to Santa. Katten attorneys and staff answer the letters, granting their holiday wishes.
More than 95 percent of the children in the program live at or below poverty level, and the holiday gifts they receive from Katten are just a small way to brighten their season. Direct Effects has asked members of the firm to purchase gifts at the $25 price point and make an additional $5 donation to the charity to help defray the administrative costs of the program.
Rachel M. Vorbeck, a litigation partner at Katten, helps coordinate the firm’s involvement in the “Letters to Santa” program. This is her fourth year doing that, and since she started between 1,000 and 1,200 children have been helped.
“If you see some of the these letters from these kids, they are heart-breaking,” Vorbeck said. “These kids might otherwise be asking for anything in the world for Christmas, but they are asking for gloves and coats to keep them warm. … They always ask how Santa is doing. They send little paper drawings in. These are kids that don’t have anything to help themselves out of the situation they are in. If they don’t have gloves, hats and coats they just are cold.”
Vorbeck said she coordinates the program with Cathleen A. Booth, a corporate partner at Katten, and their assistants Dawn Sykes and Rosie Gradilla.