Along with holiday around the corner come thoughts of family, community, and thankfulness. StreetWise compiled a list of organizations that need volunteers for Thanksgiving and the remainder of the holiday season. Food donations are a continuing need.
Breaking Bread (a ministry of LaSalle St. Church) , 1111 N. Wells St.
Breaking Bread soup kitchen will not be serving on Thanksgiving but will be open as usual on Wednesday with a full staff of volunteers. However, gloves, hats, and scarves are still needed and clothing donations can be dropped off inside the building. Other donations such as canned fruits, juices, coffee, and salad dressings are also welcome. For more information, please call Marianne Pytel at 312.376.0118 or email (email@example.com).
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago serves people of all faiths all year round, but at the holidays demand for food is particularly high. Your donation of nonperishable food, or money that the agency can use to buy food, will assist those in need this holiday season.
Canned food, particularly meat (ham, corned beef hash, tuna, salmon, beef stew, chili, tamales, ravioli and smoked sausage) is always welcome. Also jars of peanut butter, packages of dry beans, pasta, noodles, mac-n-cheese and cereal like oatmeal; canned vegetables and fruits, and fruit juices are always needed. Checks can also be made out to Catholic Charities. You can drop off your donations during business hours at any of its regional service centers:
Downtown: 721 N. LaSalle St., Chicago (312) 655-7000; Lake County: 671 S. Lewis, Waukegan (847) 782-4000; North/Northwest Suburbs: 1717 Rand Road, Des Plaines (847) 376-2100; West Suburbs: 1400 S. Austin, Cicero (708) 222-1491; Southwest Suburbs: 7000 W. 111th St., Suite 101, Worth (708) 430-0428; South Suburbs: 16100 Seton Drive, South Holland (708) 333-8379
Chatham-Avalon Ministries , 8601 S. State St., Chicago
This food pantry is seeking volunteers to help unload food and stock shelves the first Wednesday of each month from 9 to 11 a.m. Volunteers should be at least 18 and be able to lift 20 pounds or more. The Chatham community has a growing population of aging seniors, grandparent-headed households, unemployed and underemployed residents. The food pantry replicates a grocery store and provides clients their choice of food baskets every Saturday morning from 8 to 10 a.m. Last year, the Chatham-Avalon Ministries food pantry distributed 182,442 pounds of food worth $276,624 to 7,070 households. On average, the food pantry provides baskets to 800 households and individuals each month. Donations can be made at its website: http;//www.chathamavalonfoodpantry.org/about/. Those interested in volunteering should contact Anna Eason-Horton, 708.557.4747.
Chosen Tabernacle Ministries, 4310 S. Champlain Ave., Chicago
Chosen Tabernacle Ministries is inundated with volunteers for Thanksgiving all the way through January. However, volunteers are welcome throughout the year, from 12-3 p.m. on Thursdays, where they provide administrative client intake and oversee clients choosing their food products. Donations are always welcome. Volunteers should contact Pastor Sandra Gillespie, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312.749.8991.
Christ Life Church Chicago, 8927 S. Houston Ave.
The church needs volunteers every Saturday from 7 to 9 a.m. to pack produce. Those interested should contact Gabriel Oluwakotanmi at 773.443.6307.
Church of the Ascension, 1133 N. LaSalle Blvd., Chicago (the southeast corner of LaSalle and Elm)
The Church of Ascension in Chicago will provide a Thanksgiving dinner on-site in its parish hall beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24. It welcomes all volunteers, whether affiliated with Ascension or not. Other than a grace before dinner, the event is non-sectarian. Those wishing to volunteer should arrive at Ascension beginning at 11:30 a.m.
To sign up, please email email@example.com or visit the church. Every first Saturday of the month, volunteers are also needed for the church’s St. Anthony of Padua food pantry.
Harvest Vineyard, 2495 Howard St., Evanston, (Howard & Kedzie, behind the Jewel)
Harvest Vineyard is fully staffed for its Thanksgiving event, so that it will not require volunteers. However, volunteers are needed every Wednesday night in December & January (except for Christmas Day & New Year’s Day), as well as December 21 and January 18.
On Wednesdays, Harvest Vineyard serves the public from 6 to 8 p.m.; volunteers are needed to pack bags and serve patrons from roughly 5 to 8:30 p.m. On Saturdays, the shift is from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. Tasks include setting up and taking down the grocery shelves, stocking the shelves with fresh food items, packing grocery bags with dry goods, escorting patrons through the line as they make their fresh food choices, and restocking shelves of dry goods items. Wednesday evenings Harvest Vineyard also hosts a Clothes Closet and need volunteers to help in that department. To see the volunteer schedule, please visit vcce.org/harvestvols and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Thomas Fowkes and Hasnain Khan
StreetWise Editorial Interns