6 Ways to Give Back This Labor Day

After countless days basking in the sunshine, the end of summer is begrudgingly nigh.

Kids are back in school, and, as they say, winter is coming. Say sayonara to summer with these Labor Day philanthropic events, and use your extra time off to celebrate and support your peers.

1. Cheer on the Chicago Women’s Half Marathon.

Enjoy the last dregs of summer and soak up some rays as a volunteer at The Magnificent Mile Chicago Women’s Half Marathon & 5K. The American Cancer Society and Girls on the Run—Chicago, two of the race’s beneficiaries, need extra hands both Saturday, Aug. 30 and Sunday, Aug. 31. On Saturday, volunteers will be organizing and distributing race bags and participant T-shirts at Fleet Feet Chicago in the South Loop; on Sunday, volunteers will help at the starting line, in the gear check tent and at the hydration station in Jackson Park. Keep an eye out for our Digital Editor, Lindsay Roseman, in her Make It Better orange, at the finish line! For more information, visit the race website or email Gerrie Rogalla at [email protected]

If you can’t make it this weekend, there’s another opportunity to volunteer with the American Cancer Society Sunday, Sept. 7 at the Chicago Half Marathon.

2. Take on a real challenge in the ultimate obstacle course.

Looking for something with more of a kick? Volunteer to help at the Badass Dash (BAD) Obstacle Challenge, the ultimate adventure race and obstacle course. Volunteers are needed in shifts to help with administration, but it’s not too late to register for the event! Registration closes Wednesday night at midnight, so lace up and prepare to tackle nearly 30 unconventional (but achievable) obstacles, like a claustrophobic crawl, a hay bale hike and even a human car wash. To register or volunteer, visit the event site. Event proceeds benefit Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to funding global autism research and raising public awareness about autism.

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Photo courtesy of Badass Dash. 

3. Support family playtime.

As the school year revs up, opportunities to spend time with young family members dwindle. Relish the remaining time at the KaBOOM! Play Together Tour, powered by Disney Parks. This free pop-up play attraction, which is stopping in six cities across the country, offers a weekend of fun-filled family play events, including team-building stations, mental and physical play games and a family-friendly obstacle course, to encourage family interactions. Volunteers age 21 and older are needed on Saturday and Sunday at Lincoln Park, Grove 2, to help guide families through this playful weekend; each volunteer will receive a volunteer T-shirt and a boxed meal. Register at Eventbrite for a partial or full-day shift. For more information, contact KaBOOM! at 202-659-0215.

4. Provide a meal to a hungry child.

Ted’s Montana Grill has partnered with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to help end childhood hunger in America. Now through September 28, customers who donate $5 or more to the campaign will receive a $5 appreciation certificate for use on a future visit. Every dollar donated can help provide up to 10 meals to children in need. Since 2008, Ted’s Montana Grill has raised more than $300,000 for No Kid Hungry; the campaign connects kids in need to nutrition programs in schools and empowers families with the skills to cook healthy, affordable meals at home.

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Photo courtesy of Ted’s Montana Grill.

5. Take a Greek vacation.

Spend the weekend in Greece without packing a bag! Join Deerfield’s Hellenic American Academy at the North Shore Greek Fest, Saturday through Monday. Feast on authentic Greek cuisine, participate in carnival games and shop local arts and crafts vendors; the event rounds out with live music and dance lessons on a free indoor cultural stage. All proceeds benefit the Hellenic American Academy, its schools and its programs. Visit the festival rain or shine at 1085 Lake Cook Road beginning Saturday afternoon. Find more information here.

6. Hit the links for the hungry.

Still jonesin’ for a bit of summer fun? Grab your clubs and join Beef4Hunger at its fourth annual Drive Fore Food golf event next weekend. The shotgun golf outing begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Lake Bluff Golf Club and includes prizes, lunch and drinks. Stay after the golf for the Big Bad Q Block Party, a fantastic Western-style barbecue dinner with all the fixin’s. The Hellhounds will provide rollicking live music, while attendees can take a challenging ride on a mechanical bull. Lake Bluff Brewing Company and Terlato Wines will provide complimentary libations for the event. All proceeds benefit Beef4Hunger in their quest to provide fresh beef high in protein to the nation’s hungry through donations to food banks and hunger relief organizations. RSVP for one or both events here.