Sarah’s Circle Keeps Doors Open, Beer Fest Alive Despite Pandemic

Sarah's Circle

Sarah’s Circle vowed from the start of the coronavirus pandemic to keep its doors open, and the non-profit dedicated to helping homeless women in Chicago has stayed true to that commitment.  

As the pandemic rages on, Sarah’s Circle is bringing attention to the urgent need for additional beds for the homeless in shelters across the city. Interim housing programs and emergency shelters have had to reduce their spots due to social distancing guidelines.

Sarah’s Circle is a longtime Chicago pillar working to end homelessness for women. They recognize that women are among the most vulnerable to eviction, due to the gender wage gap. Additionally, Black women and women of color are at a greater risk of eviction, since they make less than their white counterparts. As of May 2020, 76,998 people face homelessness in Chicago. Of that number, there is a 22 percent positivity rate for Covid-19.

Sarah's Circle
Sarah’s Circle Interim Housing Clients pose for a photo.

To mitigate the costs of an increased demand for its services, including at its new Uptown facility, Sarah’s on Sheridan, Sarah’s Circle’s pushed ahead with its annual Beer Fest fundraiser. Moving the fundraiser online while keeping the spirit of the event alive was a challenge. 

Beer Fest is typically a fun happy hour event featuring a live band, paddle raise, and auction as well as an accompanying silent auction. With the help of the event’s “house band,” The Exceptions of Northern Trust (a group of bankers that can really jam), much of the event was successfully translated to a virtual platform. A mix of upbeat song covers, inspiring messages from clients and staff, and a Sarah’s Circle-themed trivia game made the event a success and helped raise more than $38,000. 

Though the pandemic has been excruciating for unhoused people everywhere, Sarah’s Circle is hopeful that it has underscored the need for affordable housing in communities across the city.

To learn more about Sarah’s Circle, especially how you can help during Covid-19, visit sarahs-circle.org. Currently Sarah’s Circle is looking for volunteers to help serve healthy meals for groups of 50, and for hosts for donation drives.

In-kind items can be mailed, and they are accepting the below unopened items:

  • Travel sized toiletry items
  • Makeup
  • Disposable razors
  • Adult diapers for women
  • Cough drops
  • Cold, sinus, allergy medicine
  • Pain medicine (Advil, Ibuprofen)
  • Multivitamins
  • Hair oil
  • Hair brushes/combs
  • Nail polish, remover, files, clippers
  • Q-Tips
  • Cotton balls
  • Hai clips/ties
  • Condoms (male and female)
  • New underwear and socks
  • Reading glasses
  • Yarn
  • Coloring materials (adult coloring books, markers, pencils)
  • Headphones/ear buds

Sponsors of Sarah’s Circle include:


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