The holidays are a time of elaborate winter decorations, festive traditions and buying and receiving gifts from the people we love. It’s also a time to show support for those who need it most. With COVID-19 taking over the holiday season, take some time out of your busy schedule to help those in need. Whether you’re able to volunteer a full day or week to help out those in need or looking to make a donation where your money is needed, there are great ways for you to give back this holiday season.
1.Volunteer at an animal shelter
Visit your local shelter’s website to see if they have a wish list of items needed, or call if none is published (animal care facilities need everything from towels and blankets to washers/dryers and computers). A lot of shelters need the most help in the winter, some Chicago animal shelters you can reach out to are PAWS Chicago, The Anti-cruelty Society, and One Tail at a Time.
2.Serve a meal to the hungry
Many people in Chicago are left hungry every holiday season. More than 48 million Americans live in food-insecure households. You can help serve these struggling families, children and senior citizens in need of food by volunteering at a local soup kitchen or donating and helping at a food bank. There are many scattered all over Chicago including, Irving Park Community Food Pantry, Greater Chicago Food Pantry, and Inspirations Kitchens.
3.Buy toys for children in need
With many people getting laid off their jobs during COVID-19, many parents may not be able to afford Christmas gifts for their children this year. There are many companies that are taking toys for children this Christmas such as Toys for Tots, Cradles to Crayons, and Share our Spare. Many drop offs require new items due to COVID-19, so do your research before donating.
4.Volunteer at Mental Health Services
Shatter the stigma around mental health illnesses and give hope to those struggling with mental illness as a volunteer at Mental Health Association of Greater Chicago, and many other hospitals in the area. Covid has been tough on a lot of people, and nothing would be better than bringing in some joyful Holiday spirit to some people who need it the most!
5.Volunteer at Meals on Wheels Chicago
Through Meals on Wheels Chicago’s Love Notes Program, volunteers can write notes to homebound seniors and people with disabilities, which are distributed with nutritious meals. The elderly are one of the most subjective populations during COVID-19. Many elder residents are not able to regroup with their friends or family this season. Volunteering and bringing them a nutritious meal can make some of their days!
Finally, more people than ever this year need help because of COVID-19. Here is a link to our COVID-19 relief page!