The Christmas holiday is fast approaching. People are shopping, spending, and planning their holiday parties. All forms of social activities go on between now and Christmas. People spend more money on these.
Take moment to think of others who are less fortunate this holiday season. It is estimated there are very large numbers of people living in poverty, on the verge of poverty, unemployed, under employed, or who have food insecurities in Chicago.
They need our assistance. If you cannot donate money, there are ways to donate food, clothing, other products, or volunteer opportunities.
Here is a short list of worthwhile charities:
Chicago Tribune Charities: "When you donate to the Chicago Tribune Charities Holiday Giving Campaign, 100% of your gift, plus a 50% match from the McCormick Foundation, will go DIRECTLY to nonprofits that help those in need move to self-sufficiency with programs in:
- Adult Literacy
- Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment
- Child & Youth Education
- Workforce Development
"Chicago Tribune Charities, a McCormick Foundation Fund, is committed to ensuring that at-risk kids and families across Chicagoland have access to programs that will allow them to realize their full potential." (Chicago Tribune Charities) They also provide hot meals for people in need.
Mercy Home for Boys and Girls: "Mercy Home provides kids in crisis with the support and guidance they need to realize their own potential and make positive decisions. Whether living full time at Mercy Home, participating in activities with other former residents through our AfterCare program, or spending a few hours a month with a positive adult role model, young people have many opportunities at Mercy Home to build successful futures." (Mercy Home website)
Salvation Army Jewel Osco Chicago Bears Coat Drive: New and gently used coats can be dropped off at various Jewel-Osco stores throughout Chicagoland. "Over the past 27 years, these coat drives have provided hundreds of thousands of coats to keep people warm during Chicago’s traditionally cold winters.
Streetwise: Streetwise assists homeless people to move on a path of personal stability and financial self sufficiency. Through sales of Streetwise Magazine, the organization personalizes poverty and provides social commentary. Streetwise has several programs to assist homeless people into transitioning to stable lives. There are several ways to donate to Streetwise. They also take in kind donations of food (Canned goods, pasta, beans, or rice), clothing, electronics, and other items.
Franciscan Outreach: Franciscan Outreach provides emergency assistance, shelter, meals, showers, and laundry services to men, women, and children. They also provide assistance with long term objectives such as housing and job opportunities. There are many ways to participate, including donation of goods and volunteering.
Lakeview Pantry: Lakaeview Pantry's two locations serve over 12000 people. They provide food, self-help programs, and other innitiatives to eliminate hunger and put people on a path to stability. They accept financial donations, food, household items, personal hygiene, bathroom, and cleaning supplies. There is also a list of services they need along with other in kind donations.
Toys for Tots: Since 1947, the United States Marine Corps Reserve has operated Toys for Tots. This year their goal is to distribute millions of toys to less fortunate children in communities across America.
PAWS: For those who want to help our furry little friends, there is PAWS Chicago. PAWS is the largest humane no kill shelter in Chicago. They are intensely focused on solutions to end the killing of homeless pets. Besides taking donations they have volunteer opportunities.
Look around your own neighborhood. There may be plenty of opportunities to help the less fortunate this year. You will make someone's Christmas brighter as well as your own.
Maybe you can just drop a few bucks into a Salvation Army Kettle.
Help other people who have little have a happy holiday.
Do it for them. Do it for yourself. You will have a happier holiday too.
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