It is usually not until the holiday season that most of us take a moment to think about the less fortunate. Maybe we slip a few bills into the red bucket outside the drugstore, or we donate a new doll to the toy drive at our office. But we think that summer is also a good time to consider those that may need a helping hand in the city. With that in mind, we offer a few ways that you can give back, by either sparing a little bit of your time, or by just buying something that might have been on your To-Do list anyway.
Photo Courtesy for Flowers for Dreams
Flowers for Dreams
A house just isn’t a home without a gorgeous bouquet of flowers to light up a room. Flowers for Dreams makes it easy to scoop up some blooms while doing good at the same time. Founded in 2012, Flowers for Dreams builds beautiful arrangements from locally-sourced flowers. Bouquets start at $35 and they donate a quarter of their net profits to a local charity of the month. With free delivery (!!!), you will have no trouble coming up with reasons to send a bundle of sunshine to friends and loved ones. Visit the website to view the entire collection and for a list of charities that they support. Flowers for Dreams, 1812 West Hubbard Street, 855-212-8420, flowersfordreams.com.
Photo Courtesy of Growing Home, Inc.
Growing Home, Inc.
When most of us think of Englewood, what comes to mind isn’t always positive. But as is the case with almost everything, there is much more to the story of this historic neighborhood. Growing Home is a job skills training program that was started in Englewood by Les Brown as a way to help people overcome employment challenges that often undermine their ability to be hired. These hurdles can include criminal records, child-care needs, and medical issues. By providing farm-based job training, Growing Home thoughtfully provides solutions to two problems: putting people on the path to meaningful work and giving communities access to fresh produce at drastically reduced prices. Their belief that healthy residents lead to healthy neighborhoods is an idea that we can definitely get behind. Growing Home, 2732 North Clark Street, 773-549-1336, growinghomeinc.org.
First Slice Café
March 14th might be Pi(e) Day, but as far as we are concerned, every day is an excuse to tear into a piece of pie. Founded by Chef Mary Ellen Diaz, First Slice is a result of Diaz’s stint as a volunteer in some of the city’s soup kitchens. The café is a self-funded charity that serves to feed the city’s needy and homeless. Through First Slice’s three locations in the city, Diaz offers up an eclectic menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, and did we mention pie? But the genius of the operation is the Shareholder Program, where families can sign up and receive restaurant-caliber meals for the week that are available for pickup. It is the funds from these subscriptions that are then used to provide the same quality meals for those in need. Visit the website for subscription info and for a list of other organizations that First Slice supports. First Slice Café, 4401 North Ravenswood Avenue, 773-506-7380, 4664 North Manor Avenue, 773-267-0169 and 5337 North Ashland Avenue, 773-275-4297, firstslice.org.
At some point, we all look around our homes and wonder, “Why do I have so much stuff?” Enter Zealous Good. This Chicago-based online platform connects charities who need things with people who have those things to give. Just go to their website, tell them what you want to donate and they will match you with charities that are ready and waiting. You select which charity you would like to connect with, and they help you set up a drop off or pick up of your items. Done and done. Zealous Good partners with schools, arts programs, domestic abuse organizations, and animal charities, so you are sure to find a cause that is close to your heart. Zealous Good, 2936 North Southport Avenue, zealousgood.com.
Photo Courtesy of La Familia Green
La Familia Green
As much as we love living the digital life at the speed of light, there is just something nice about a handwritten letter or card. That’s why we love La Familia Green, a collection of whimsical cards designed by painter and printmaker Mollie Green. In addition to her sense of humor, we also salute her sense of responsibility to the world around her. She employs eco-friendly processes in the production of her cards (her printer uses wind energy and her card stock is 30-100 percent post-consumer recycled content). La Familia Green also donates a percentage of sales to various local animal charities, like PAWS Chicago and Red Door Animal Shelter. Visit the website for a full list of charities that La Familia Green supports. La Familia Green, Greenleaf Art Center, 1806 West Greenleaf Avenue, 773-875-7460, lafamiliagreen.com.