It’s finally starting to feel like spring around Chicago, and what better way to celebrate the warmer weather than by getting outside and helping others?
Help get the beach clean and ready for the summer season right now with the Alliance for the Great Lakes. The organization focuses on protecting all of the Great Lakes and offers a unique Adopt-a-Beach program, which allows people to volunteer their time picking up waste on the waterfront. Bring your family or a group of friends and spend the day cleaning up the beaches of Lake Michigan to keep the lakeshore beautiful and clean.
Have an immediate and lasting impact on someone’s life by becoming a mentor for a young person through Curt’s Café volunteer program. The restaurant helps adolescents who are living in at-risk situations, such as having contact with the judicial system, or are homeless, food insecure, or have dropped out of school. The program offers kids a chance to work in the cafes, catch up on education in a classroom, and connect with an individual mentor. Learn more about becoming a mentor here.
Sarah’s Circle serves as a refuge for women who are homeless or in need of a safe space. The organization provides women with a place to stay while they rebuild their lives. In addition to services such as a life necessities, case management, and clinical and social services, Sarah’s Circle also works to help women manage stress. Help women in need relax by donating adult coloring books and word puzzles. You can use Sarah’s Circle’s Amazon Wish List and help a woman with just a few clicks, or see the In-Kind Donations web page for a full list of needed items.
Thinking of doing a little spring cleaning for your closet? Rather than tossing out any gently used business clothes, consider bringing them to Dress for Success. The organization offers support and assistance to women striving to achieve their professional and personal goals. The clothes will be given to women and give them the confidence they need to enter or return to the workplace. Find more information about what kind of clothing the organization is looking for here.
When Saturday Night Live’s Gilda Radner was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she said that having cancer gave her membership to an elite club she’d rather not belong to. After she passed away in 1985, her husband and friends established Gilda’s Club in her memory. It’s a place that offers men, women, and children whose lives have been impacted by cancer a welcoming community of support. The organization offers a free membership, which gives members access to more than 300 activities per month and other important resources. Help keep membership and activities free by making a donation here.
Want to make a daily impact on hunger across Cook County? Consider donating to The Greater Chicago Food Depository, one of the leading charities in Chicago. Its mission is to end hunger in the community by distributing food where it is needed most. The organization distributes on average 200,000 pounds of food to people in the area every day. Aid the effort of food collection and transportation by making a donation here. Donating $50, for example, will provide 150 meals for people in the community.
Help improve women’s economic status and remove barriers to inequality by donating to Women Employed. Interesting in doing something more? Join the organization at their annual event, The Working Lunch, on May 31 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Over 1,000 individuals — community leaders, business leaders, and advocates — will gather in downtown Chicago in support of WE’s mission. Key leaders of today’s women’s movement will be present, like Ai-Jen Poo, who recently joined Meryl Streep on the red carpet to say #TimesUp and is the cofounder and director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance; Monica Ramirez, co-founder and president of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas whose open letter to Times Magazine about farmworker women sparked the creation of the Times Up Fund; and Andrea Pino, co-founder of the national survivor advocacy organization End Rape on Campus whose work and personal journey is prominently featured in the Emmy-nominated film “The Hunting Ground.” Find more details on the event here.
Give children in need a brighter future by giving your support to the Chicago Child Care Society. Their mission is to provide innovative, community-based education and social service programs that address the current and emerging needs of vulnerable children and their families. The donation site has examples of what your donation amount will provide. For example, $100 is equivalent to a prenatal or postnatal nurse visit, while $500 will provide a warm bed for a displaced child.
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Maddy Sims recently graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she studied magazine journalism. Her work has also been featured on Bustle, Real Simple, Apartment Therapy, Bicycling, and The Medill Olympic Media Project. She’s passionate about beauty, fashion, and lifestyle topics. Outside of writing, she loves to spend her time cooking yummy vegan recipes, attending music concerts, watching movies, and reading books. She is a huge supporter of the Special Olympics and has volunteered at several local events.