by Katie Adams
Photo Credit: Chicago Hopes for Kids
It’s never too early to start giving back and volunteering as a family. There are many charities in Chicago and the suburbs that are helping children in need. Read on to see some local charities and organizations to get involved with.
Note: We’re updating our website as quickly as we can, but changes may occur due to COVID-19. Please double check with the organization on their volunteering opportunities and donation collections before heading out.
Bernie’s Book Bank is the leading provider of quality books to at-risk children in the Chicagoland area. Spend a weekend day sorting, applying stickers and packing bags of books to go out to the community. If you cannot make it in person, only $6 will provide a year of books for one child or donate your own books.
By the Hand is an after-school program that wants to take kids by the hand and help them grow. There are many ways to give to the organization such as investing in a child or volunteering in person. Recently, a group of By the Hand teens transformed an old liquor store in the West Side to a fresh food market called Austin Harvest.
Chicago Hopes for Kids provides educational support for children living in Chicago’s homeless shelters. The most popular volunteer option is the after-school program which allows community members to spend time helping with homework and focusing on literacy support. If you cannot volunteer, donate instead.
Children’s Advocacy Center and its partners are the frontline responders in Chicago to reports of child sexual abuse. They are Chicago’s only not-for-profit organization that coordinates the efforts of child protection, law enforcement, medical experts, mental health services and more under one roof. As a family, you can donate new or gently used toys and games to help contribute to a relaxing environment during the children’s appointments at the center.
Cradles to Crayons helps offer essential items that children need to thrive through “The Giving Factory.” At the headquarters, the organization helps package up books, clothing, learning toys and more to provide for families in their communities. C2C accepts volunteers as young as 10 and will encourage your child to roll up their sleeves in a hands-on volunteer experience. You can also host a socially distant product collection.
Enchanted Backpack strives to support under-resourced elementary and middle schools. The organization collects school supplies, athletic equipment, winter coats and other items. These materials are then packed into mobile vans and delivered directly to schools across the Chicagoland area throughout the school year.
While this organization has done incredible things for Chicago, one of the main goals is to empower underprivileged youth to experience opportunities beyond their neighborhood. These programs include youth-led tours and Youth-Senior Connect. Your family can help by volunteering at upcoming events or donating.
This story originally published August 2018. It has been updated with the most recent information.