October heralds the arrival of cooler weather, and with it, greater need. Volunteer-based organizations across the city are responsible for meeting the needs of the hungry, the houseless and the most vulnerable among us. As temperatures drop, consider taking extra steps to support the community — be it through your time, things or support. Here are some deserving organizations that would be very grateful for your help.
Housing is a right, not a privilege. Good News Partners is committed to helping those that are “hopeless and homeless” with permanent housing. Good Partners has housed countless families and individuals through their New Life Interim Housing program. Those who seek their help are able to stay in the shelter for up to 120 days, and during that time the organization helps them navigate their next steps and goals for rebuilding their lives.
The organization is always open to in-kind and monetary donations, which fund more than just their housing project. “A gift in the amount of $100 can feed a family of four for a week [or] can buy a coat and pair of boots for a family of two.” A small contribution can do a lot of good for our neighbors in need of support and security. Specifics on volunteer opportunities and donation logistics can be found on the Good News Partners website.
1600 W. Jonquil Terrace
This nonprofit expertly connects those facing housing insecurity “with food, housing, income, healthcare, and community” — and has been doing so for over 100 years. Located in Chicago’s Near West Side, ReVive offers programs for anyone who seeks their help no matter what part of their journey they are on — whether new to the organization or working toward permanent housing.
The organization is proof of purpose, with encouraging statistics of participants’ success maintaining health care, building income, retaining housing and more. Beyond these factors, they also restore a sense of community for each individual; where they are treated with the respect they deserve and are often deprived of. To further support this cause, visit the ReVive Center for Housing and Healing website, where information on volunteering, monetary donations, giving tangible goods and more is available.
1668 W. Ogden Ave.
Chicago’s 49th Ward — which includes Rogers Park and parts of West Ridge — is under the jurisdiction of Alderman Maria Hadden, who as of this month is instituting a new program. In September, Texas Governor Greg Abbott decidedly transported hundreds of migrants from the country’s southern border to larger, metro areas in the US, according to ABC 7.
The unprecedented move has brought over 360 folks to Chicago, and in an effort to prepare for their arrival, Ald. Hadden has started a donation drive. The program will run indefinitely and encourages Chicagoans to donate a plethora of items that will be given to Chicago’s newest arrivals — who are no doubt in need of our compassion. More information can be found on the 49th Ward website.
1447 W. Morse
Keeping a child’s closet full as they grow can be difficult for many families. The Evanston School Children’s Clothing Association (ESCCA) gets this, and provides clothing for school-aged children in Evanston/Skokie District 65. Annually, they provide a full wardrobe of clothing and shoes to families for free and do so “efficiently and discreetly and always keep the dignity of the families in mind.”
With the cold months just around the corner, the Association is already collecting winter clothing in addition to other pre-approved items. Since COVID, they have had to change their guidelines — before giving, be sure to check what they can accept. To help families better prepare for the coming months, consider how you might be able to give this month — whether used clothes, money or your time. Visit the ESCCA website for more.
1500 McDaniel, Evanston
Justice, compassion, integrity, collaboration, innovation — these are the values of Housing Opportunities for Women, which has been a leader in finding solutions for the houseless in Chicago since 1983.
“Clients arrive at HOW with a variety of barriers that have prevented them from prospering, including disabilities, chronic health conditions, mental illness, addiction, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, and more.”
HOW has built a supportive environment and network that allows people space to create long-term solutions to the obstacles they have faced. This means offering thorough assistance from housing and case management, to back-to-school drives and all the facets in between. Supporting this organization can manifest in multiple ways. Financial and volunteer support is always welcome, but spreading the word about what they do and being a part of their mission to serve our vulnerable neighbors is also integral to their work. Get more information on the HOW website.
1607 W. Howard St.
For additional altruistic ways to give back to the Chicago community at large, visit The Volunteer Center opportunity directory for more listings and information.
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Margaret Smith is a Chicago-based writer and editor with a passion for socio-political storytelling about their community. They are a graduate of Columbia College Chicago.