‘Tis the season of giving and we don’t only mean presents and holiday cheer. This year, more than ever, members of our Chicago community are going through hardships. City-wide lockdowns and quarantining forced many businesses to shut their doors, and led to more people looking for work. Times are tough, but Chicago, we’re tougher. Whether you can volunteer your time, or have room in the budget for a donation, we’ve put together some ways to give back to the Chicago community through some of our favorite teams.
Volunteer in Chicago with the White Sox
Up first are some special ways you can volunteer in Chicago through everyone’s favorite south-side team, the White Sox. Due to the ongoing pandemic, a lot of opportunities that the Sox typically have are limited, but that isn’t stopping the White Sox Volunteer Corps. In January of next year, the White Sox are taking volunteers to help repack donated food and other products through the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Spots are limited for volunteer openings, but this is definitely a great way to give back some of your time.
Outside of the Volunteer Corps, the White Sox also host online auctions for different signed pieces of memorabilia and special experiences. All proceeds go towards supporting White Sox charities that all help the local Chicago community. If you don’t want to bid on any high-ticket items, but would still like to donate, you can visit the White Sox in the Community page for more information.
Donate Coats To the Bears Coat Drive
For over three decades, the Chicago Bears have partnered with local organizations to collect and distribute coats to those in need across the city. And the pandemic hasn’t slowed them down this year. With this winter’s annual Bears Coat Drive, community members can donate their unused coats to those in need through the Chicago Bears and the Salvation Army. Things are a little different than years past. Coats will only be accepted from January 2-3 and 9-10 at Bears Fit in Vernon Hills.
Those interested are also encouraged to drop off coats directly to their nearest Salvation Army. Last winter, the Bears Coat Drive collected over 16,500 coats for the Chicago community!
Encourage Reading Through the Blackhawks Reading Program
While this opportunity is only open to school teachers and librarians, it’s an excellent way to volunteer for children in Chicagoland. The way the Chicago Blackhawks Reading Program works is each teacher receives a toolkit for their students. This kit gives them everything they need to keep track of pages read and includes fun challenges for the kids. At the end of each month, teachers collect reading logs and total them. Each student who’s read enough pages receives a Certificate of Completion and a Blackhawks ticket offer. Plus, every student even has a chance at free tickets by being the top reader of the month, and the classroom with the most pages read receives a virtual visit from the team’s players! If you are a school teacher, librarian, or know someone who is, you’ll definitely want to check out this opportunity.
Other Team Charities Accepting Donations
With the continuing pandemic going on, opportunities to volunteer in Chicago are limited. Every team in our city usually has some sort of way to volunteer in-person, but it’s not the safest thing to do at the moment. Hopefully things will change soon, but in the meantime if you’re able to donate anything, these charities are accepting donations through our local teams.
Donate to nonprofit organizations that work in the four focus areas of the Bulls community involvement: youth education, youth health and wellness, violence prevention, and military and first responder support.
Donate to Bears Care. This charitable arm of the Chicago Bears donates every dollar to support programs that make a measurable difference in our neigbors’ lives, those that are less fortunate, those that battle cancer, or those that need a little help to reach their full potential.
Donate to Chicago Cubs Charities, the team’s nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the lives of children and families across Chicago.
Make a donation to the P.L.A.Y.S Program. The Participate Learn Achieve Youth Soccer Program establishes a sports-based curriculum and service program for Chicago’s most at-risk youth.
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Featured Image Credit: Chicago Blackhawks Instagram