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2011 Holidays: Our Reason for Celebration

Wed, Jan 4, 2012

Jim LoBianco

The 2011 holiday season was a time for the StreetWise family to come together express our support and appreciation for one another, even in the face of adversity. In spite of the poor economy and rising unemployment StreetWise has had a year of stability and growth. Thanks to the confidence of local foundations and our generous donors StreetWise continues to strengthen its fiscal position and expand client services. The most exciting example of this is the addition of a new staff person, Ramiro Chacon MSW, as the agency’s director of social services. We also found time to celebrate the holidays with our clients.

Our annual Thanksgiving luncheon was a great success. We provided over 80 meals to a combination of clients from StreetWise and Inspiration Corporation. Inspiration Corp. was kind enough to let StreetWise host the lunch in the Inspiration Café. Hosting the meal in a real restaurant made cooking and serving much easier and also added an extra touch for our guests. The lunch had all the Thanksgiving trimmings: turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, dressing, salad, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert. The meal was prepared and served with the help of volunteers from the Chicago Junior League, the StreetWise Junior Board, and our Board of Directors.

On December 20, StreetWise held our annual holiday award party. At this event we honored vendors who have demonstrated hard work and dedication to improving themselves over the last year. You can read more about the awardees on pages 6-7. Each year StreetWise distributes holiday gift bags that contain some of the essentials for winter in Chicago. This year each client received a winter hat and wool socks (courtesy of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless), a hand knit winter hat, scarf, and ear muffs (courtesy of the coat drive organized by WGN TV) and a voucher for a new winter coat, hat and gloves (courtesy of The Salvation Army). Thomson Reuters (Healthcare) Inc. rounded out our gift giving this year with an additional coat drive that supplied us with children’s coats for our clients with families.

I hope all of our readers of StreetWise Magazine enjoyed a joyous and healthy holiday season. StreetWise worked hard make the holidays a happy time for our clients. Like so many social service agencies across the Chicago area, the holiday season is a time to be mindful of those who are struggling to make ends meet. Too many Chicagoans are fighting just to achieve the most basic of human needs, (food, shelter, and clothing). This is evident every day at StreetWise, where motivated men and women work hard to earn money and access services that will put them on a more stable footing. Thanks to the support of our readers, donors and volunteers, StreetWise helped our clients find a reason to celebrate.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. You are welcome to contact me at either tip line@streetwise.org or (773) 334-6600 (ext. 18).

Jim LoBianco
StreetWise Executive Director

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