If you want to give back to your community this spring, here are six reputable, local charities that we think are uber-deserving of your time. Each one offers a wide range of opportunities to get involved, including organizing supplies drives, administrative work, or more hands-on work, such as volunteering and tutoring.
1. Support cancer survivors and their families at Gilda’s Club Chicago
Founded in memory of SNL actress Gilda Rader, Gilda’s Club is a community of support and resources for those whose lives have been impacted by cancer, as well as their friends and families. There are many opportunities to volunteer for Gilda’s Club, whether by working the front desk or partaking in supervised activities with kids. If you know someone who has been impacted by cancer, bring him or her to Gilda’s, or show your support by volunteering.
2. Walk, bathe, or foster dogs at Chicago Canine Rescue
Chicago Canine Rescue Foundation (CCRF) was founded in 2001 to help re-home homeless dogs in Chicago. CCRF has a soft spot for the “underdog,” and specifically helps to find homes for old, sick, or special needs dogs. Although fostering and adopting are possible, dog lovers can also help out by volunteering in the shelter in a number of capacities.
3. Tutor kids and adults in need with Breakthrough
Breakthrough offers support services to members of Chicago’s East Garfield Park community. In a neighborhood lacking opportunities, Breakthrough brings youth, adults, and families together to provide them with the skills and support to break the cycle of poverty and attain self-sufficiency. Volunteers can help out with meal prep, tutoring, and administrative work at the shelter.
4. Help refugees adjust to life in Chicago with RefugeeOne
There are many ways to support refugees in Chicago. From tutoring children, to interpreting for adults, to advocating for them by contacting elected officials, you can help RefugeeOne make a refugee’s transition to life in the U.S. easier by volunteering your time.
5. Organize a food drive for the Greater Chicago Food Depository
The fight against hunger is closer to home than you might think. The Greater Chicago Food Depository provides more than 160,000 meals per day to people in need in Cook County. It is a massive endeavor, and the food bank can use all the help it can get. Whether you organize a food drive in your community or help package and distribute food at the warehouse, you can help end hunger in Chicago today.
6. Tutor disabled youth and adults with Anixter
Anixter helps people of all ages living with disabilities by providing residential support, behavioral health services, and job training. You can donate your time to Anixter by tutoring disabled people of all ages and helping them develop the skills necessary to apply for jobs or complete schooling.
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- How a Local Tennis Club is Giving Hope to Victims of Domestic Abuse
- The Fight Against Sex Trafficking is Taking Place Closer to Home Than You Think
Macon Bianucci is a student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is an intern at Make It Better for her final quarter at Northwestern, and she enjoys writing about social justice issues and politics. Macon is a longtime supporter of The Foundation For Tomorrow, a NGO in Tanzania that provides education and support for orphaned and vulnerable children.