Mark Your Calendars to Make A Difference

Many of us spend the last days of October wrapped up in spooky party decorations, clever children’s costumes and colossal candy bowls.

What you might not know is that there is another national holiday the weekend just before All Hallows’ Eve that focuses solely on community service. It’s calledMake A Difference Day.

Make A Difference Day is Saturday, Oct. 25 and holds the title as the largest national day of community service. The holiday was created 20 years ago through a collaboration of Points of Light and USA Weekend Magazine. From building bird enclosures for wildlife in Alabama to sorting stuffed animals for children who have suffered through crises in San Diego, people are coming together across the U.S. to address issues they see in their communities.

All community projects entered on the Make A Difference Day website will be entered into the running for a $10,000 grant from Newman’s Own. A panel of judges will select 14 winners who will receive the grant money for their project’s favorite charity along with a feature in USA Weekend’s April 2015 magazine.

You can start a project online or volunteer for one of these local projects already scheduled for Oct. 25:

What: The Volunteer Center’s One-Day Collection Drive

Where: Indian Hill Train Station Parking Lot, Green Bay Road and Winnetka Avenue, Winnetka

When: Saturday, Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to noon

The Volunteer Center is participating in its 10th Make A Difference Day and is collecting everything from outerwear, shoes and boots to school supplies, Halloween costumes and bicycles. The items will be donated to 17 local nonprofits, including New Trier Township Food Pantry, Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association and Connections for the Homeless. The center is asking volunteers to donate food, clothing and household items and to help count and distribute all of the collected items. For more information, visit The Volunteer Center’s website.


What: Assistance League Children’s Book Drive

Where: Assistance League of Chicagoland West, 120 E. Ogden Ave., Hinsdale

When: Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Assistance League of Chicagoland West is just one of 93 Assistance League chapters across the country who will collect new books for children in literacy programs and reading clubs on Oct. 25. Assistance League was selected as one of the Make A Difference Day winners in 2013, collecting more than 103,000 books for children. The organization is asking volunteers to collect new children’s books, deliver the books to recipients and collect impact photos and stories of the recipients. For more information, visit the organization’s website or call 630-321-2529.


What: Neighbor-to-Neighbor

Where: The Patrick Sullivan Apartments, 1633 W. Madison St., Chicago

When: Saturday, Oct. 25 from noon to 3 p.m.

Twin sisters Anita and Danita Ivory will lead a project to provide meals to more than 470 senior citizens at the Patrick Sullivan Apartments on Oct. 25 in a service project they call “Neighbor-to-Neighbor.” The Patrick Sullivan apartment complex is a Chicago Housing Authority low-income senior citizen residence located on the near west side of Chicago. This year marks the 20th year that the sisters have participated in Make A Difference Day. They hope to raise awareness to the plight of vulnerable individuals who are food insecure, meaning they have limited funds that may cause them to miss meals. The sisters are looking for volunteers who can help collect canned goods, set up tables, cook and serve the food. For more information, call Anita at 773-344-2947.