You Said It: Members of the Chicago Community Offer Hope During the Pandemic

Helping with Food

Your comments, suggestions, tags and social network shares give greater meaning to my work as publisher of Make It Better Media Group than you may know, because your voice and engagement are powerful. I hope you are inspired by the following quotes from our audience.

Please share more ideas and good examples with us at or follow us on:

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Thank you,

Susan B. Noyes

Celebrate Highwood Raises Funds to Feed Lake County Families

Celebrate Highwood Food Donations Covid-19

Celebrate Highwood, in partnership with BellarRu Catering and Mis Dos Magos, helped raise over $4,000 to fill grocery bags to distribute to over 200 families through Family Service Lake County – Nuestro Center.  Donations are ongoing, with a goal of feeding 1,000 families a week, and can be made through


The bags will be distributed:
Wednesday, May 13 at 10:30 am

Everts Park Library Parking lot side


Note: Recipients will drive through the library lot to pick up bags. We ask everyone to open their trunks and we will place food in trunks directly.


New Beds for Homeless That Have Tested Positive for COVID-19

Last week Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the opening of the new 100-bed isolation space for the homeless in partnership with A Safe Haven Foundation and Rush University Medical Healthcare Systems. “This is a pivotal time. This is an extremely difficult time for all of us,” said A Safe Haven Foundation President Neli Vazquez Rowland at a press conference with the mayor. “But rest assured, the hard work is being done and this is the dawn of a new era for community-based heath care.”

Susan B. Noyes: Of course Neli Vasquez and A Safe Haven were the first not-for-profit to provide this service to the homeless. The organization is the true leader in comprehensive, thoughtfully organized, impactful support for homeless individuals and families. That’s why ASH won a Better Philanthropy Award, and why we sponsored their 10th anniversary gala, and why we repeatedly look for ways to collaborate with them. We recommend that everyone help ASH help the homeless. 

Fresh Meals for Heath Care Workers

“I hope you saw the social media posts that Lurie Children’s Hospital and the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation shared recently on various platforms. The meals from J&L Catering were very much appreciated by our staff in Emergency Medicine and Respiratory. They said the food was delicious and they were grateful to have a fresh and healthy meal. Thank you for thinking of our health care workers during this very challenging time.” —Erin A. Markuson, CFRE, Vice President, Major Gifts, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation

SBN: We are so grateful to Anthony Rizzo and the ARFF for the opportunity to help. Your leadership is inspiring.

New Music

Carly Taylor, an indie folk pop artist from Glenview, Illinois, releases her first single.

Listen to, “Howl” out now on Spotify and all platforms. “My mission is to create a melodic world that transcends ego, resonates freedom, empowerment and infuses healing into the world,” she says. Listen on Soundcloud.

SBN: How appropriate that your first release is “Howl.” Every evening at 7 or 8 p.m. noisy support for health care workers on the front lines reverberates through cities and other communities. The howling actually started in Marin County, California, where our sister publication is based. Every evening at 8 p.m. residents let loose. It’s fabulous. So is your courage for launching your career during coronavirus times.

We Are All Connected

“Thanks Susan, for sharing the fact that California and Illinois and other states are on lockdown. With my economics background, I am reminded of that famous phrase, “We are all Keysesians now.” I feel “we are all connected now.” Mayor Lori Lightfoot helps. With fake news, I am leery of many sources. But I trust Better. Keep up the new-and-improved digital editions.” —Blythe McGarvie, Evanston

Walk and Tag

“I’m posting something inspiring from my daily walks and tagging #RANDOMACTSOFHOPE #RANDOMACTSOFGOODNESS #BETTERTOGETHER and @BetterChicago.” — Christine Jett Rivard, Glenview


View this post on Instagram


Today’s walk. #randomactsofkindness #randomactsofhope #support #randomactsofsupport

A post shared by Christine Jett-Rivard (@daughteroftheliberation) on

SBN: Thanks Christine! We love these and we share them on our Instagram stories. We hope that others do the same. If they also tag @BetterChicago, we will share that as well. The more inspiration from our community, the Better.

You Can Help

The Volunteer Center in Winnetka has tips for anyone who wants to volunteer to help during COVID-19 times. Learn more about the following recommendations here.

Coronavirus graphic

Donate Financial Support

Donate Technology, Hardware and Software

Use Your Voice 

Educate Yourself on the Issues

Donate Gift Cards 

Give Blood 

Be Social to Someone Lonely or in Need

Take a Walk 

Prepare Meals

Clean Out & Donate

Make Surgical Masks

SBN: These are fantastic suggestions. We encourage everyone to read and think about how they can easily and safely help others. Please tag @BetterChicago if you do any of these activities. We will share with our audience, because your actions will inspire others.

From Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago

MPC’s Data Team has been digging into the local trends underpinning this unprecedented moment. Explore a deeper picture of our region’s vulnerabilities and strengths, with analysis from Dan Cooper and Shehara Waas. Every day, we are asked by our partners in government, philanthropy and the media to provide information on targeting emergency assistance and insights about needed policy changes. Your past support has made us ready for this moment. And we need your support again. Please donate so MPC can continue Making Positive Change. Here’s a list of ways you can do your part to help our most vulnerable people, places and sectors: adding momentum to a new fund for cash payments to those out of work; helping expand the capacity of local service providers; and delivering assistance for those facing housing instability. As always, Chicagoans step up.

Metropolitan Planning Council Chicago

SBN: As usual, your analysis, recommendations and requests are spot on for our region. We encourage everyone to support Metropolitan Planning Council.

Hunger Free Northbrook

Several months ago, Hunger Free Northbrook (HFN) started a program to ensure students on the free or reduced lunch program would have enough to eat on weekends and during periods when schools were not in session. Today, with schools closed and many families out of work, this important program is being expanded. With the current need, HFN is seeking community-wide support to prepare additional nutritious food bags. The cost is approximately $30 and the food will be distributed to the families in April. Anyone interested in participating can sign up using this link. If you are a member of an organization that would like to help sustain the program going forward, please call or e-mail Henry Fetta at 847.814.0581 or

SBN: Thanks for quickly responding to this critical community need. We encourage others to donate, prepare food bags or otherwise provide support. Please share your story of support and tag @BetterChicago.

Options For Youth, Chicago

Options for Youth

The Options for Youth Prevention Initiative Home Visiting Program serves young Chicago families in which the parents are adolescents, ages 13 to 18, and their young children, prenatal through 3 years of age. Children born to adolescent parents are often the most vulnerable, at risk for social and developmental delays. OFY currently supports 100 of these young families, helping to keep the young parents in school, while ensuring their babies are preschool-ready by the age of 3. To engage young parents in their child’s development, age-appropriate board books are given at each home visit. Board books are best when it comes to reading to the very little ones. Your help can make a huge difference to these young parents and their babies. Donate to Options for Youth and please spread the word. 

SBN: Nothing is better than reading to your child, snuggled in your lap or next to you. It’s painful to imagine a home without books. I’m donating some today. This is an easy way to create huge impact for struggling new mothers and their children. I hope others will too. Please tag @BetterChicago if you do.

5-Minute Testing by Abbott 

“Not sure if you all were talking about this coronavirus testing advance from Abbott Laboratories, but here’s a quick news piece my cousin who works there sent to me. The volume Abbott can produce is significant. Also, I read that Northshore University Health System had in-house, quick response testing developed.” —Better subscriber

SBN: Of course, Abbott was early to a solution. Headquartered here in Chicago, it was named one of Better’s Best Companies For Corporate Social Responsibility earlier this year. Please let us know how else we can celebrate and support this healing work.

Teachers on Parade

“This Honk and Wave drive by was such a special day for the kids, who saw their teachers and friends.  I need this to live in my feed forever.” –Macaire Douglas, Barrington 

SBN: Yes. This is distance connection and community celebration at its finest. We love the 8 p.m. Chicago Salute to Health Workers, celebrated widely, including by NBC Weather Reporter @CherylScott. Please share similar demonstrations of love and connection in your hometown through your own social network and tag @BetterChicago. We will share it with our audience, who will be inspired by your example.

Clean Hands, Clear Eyes, Tender Hearts 

We’ve all been exposed.
Not necessarily to the virus
(maybe…who even knows).
We’ve all been exposed BY the virus.

Corona is exposing us.
Exposing our weak sides.
Exposing our dark sides.
Exposing what normally lays far beneath the surface of our souls,
hidden by the invisible masks we wear.
Now exposed by the paper masks we can’t hide far enough behind.

Corona is exposing our addiction to comfort.
Our obsession with control.
Our compulsion to hoard.
Our protection of self.

Corona is peeling back our layers.
Tearing down our walls.
Revealing our illusions.
Leveling our best-laid plans.

Corona is exposing the gods we worship:
Our health
Our hurry
Our sense of security.
Our favorite lies
Our secret lusts
Our misplaced trust.

Corona is calling everything into question:
What is the church without a building?
What is my worth without an income?
How do we plan without certainty?
How do we love despite risk?

Corona is exposing me.
My mindless numbing
My endless scrolling
My careless words
My fragile nerves.

We’ve all been exposed.
Our junk laid bare.
Our fears made known.
The band-aid torn.
The masquerade done.

So what now? What’s left?
Clean hands
Clear eyes
Tender hearts.

What Corona reveals, God can heal.


SBN: Amen. And thank you. Our healing, from your lips to God’s ears. Intriguingly, poetry is much on the rise during the pandemic. Carefully crafted words have healing power. We particularly recommend the Poem Of The Day from Chicago-based Poetry Foundation to you. We also welcome submissions of your poetry to our publication.

For more on Better:

Susan B. Noyes is the Founder & Chief Visionary Officer of Make It Better Media Group, as well as the Founder of Make It Better Foundation’s Philanthropy AwardsA mother of six, former Sidley Austin labor lawyer and U.S. Congressional Aide, passionate philanthropist, and intuitive connector, she has served on boards for the Poetry FoundationHarvard University Graduate School of Education Visiting Committee, American Red CrossLurie Children’s HospitalAnnenberg ChallengeChicago Public Education FundLyric Opera of ChicagoChicago Symphony OrchestraNew Trier High School District 203, and her beloved Kenilworth Union Church. But most of all, she enjoys writing and serving others by creating virtuous circles that amplify social impact.

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