If you’re anything like us, the minute the clock ticks past midnight on November 1, all holiday breaks loose. It’s like Halloween ending is our cue to turn up the carols (because we’ve been listening to them really discreetly for a few weeks already), break out the stockings, and count down the minutes until our favorite Christmas tree farm opens.
Of course, the start of the holiday season is also the time of year when we begin to think about the things that are really important like spending time with family and friends, and supporting those less fortunate than ourselves. This year, with all of the craziness that’s gone on in the world (it’s been a year, right?) with the devastating hurricane season, the massive earthquakes in Mexico, the terrible shooting in Las Vegas, and terrorist acts that seem to happen every few weeks around the world, we’re especially focused on the latter.
At the same time — if you’re, again, anything like us, you’ve probably been donating to various charities that support the victims of these tragedies all year long — and you still might feel a little bogged down, like there’s something more you wish you could do to help.
That’s why this season, we’ve decided to focus our own time and donations in a spot where we can really see the difference that’s being made: right here in Chicago. There are so many people in our city that need our help in so many ways, something you can probably see with your own two eyes just by walking through your neighborhood. Our favorite way to give back locally: donating time or hours to The Salvation Army.
Salvation Army Chicago serves communities in the city, as well as in Northern Illinois and Lake County, Indiana in a huge number of ways. They provide emergency financial assistance, grocery assistance through food pantries, educational and recreational programs for children, adults and seniors, and leadership training and character development for youth.
Plus, it’s SO easy to donate to this great cause (you’d actually have to try pretty hard not to encounter one of The Salvation Army’s bell-ringing Santas or volunteers that sit on almost every major intersection and outside of every Target and grocery store for the next few months). Commit to dropping something in that red bucket every time you pass one this season. Or go a step further and make a larger financial donation by clicking here.
Strapped for cash? That’s OK!
The Salvation Army has dozens of other ways to help out.
- Join us in donating to their Holiday Food Drive. This year, they’re in need of the below items, which can be dropped off at 5040 N Pulaski Rd between Monday, November 13 and Friday, November 17 (or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a drop off in Wicker Park!)
- cranberry sauce
- canned corn
- canned green beans
- canned yams
- cake mix
- biscuit mix
- Sign up to ring those bells! The Salvation Army relies on volunteers to collect money throughout the season.
- Or, become an online Bell Ringer by collecting donations from friends and family here.
- Purchase a few of your Christmas presents at their stores (they have some GREAT DIY gifts waiting to happen in their stores).
- Drop off coats or warm clothing you no longer use at one of their donation centers.
- Volunteer to help out at one of dozens of locations throughout the city and suburbs, listed here.
- Create homeless hygiene kits to hand out around your neighborhood. Find suggested items to include here.
The bottom line is, it makes the holiday season so much more rich and meaningful to give back, especially to our own amazing community! To find out more about the many ways you can give back through The Salvation Army, click here.
*This post was sponsored by the Salvation Army.