By Sara Lugardo
Spending the holidays in Chicago can be filled with the seemingly never-ending activities geared towards adults and families alike. However, the holidays are also a time for giving and a time to help others who may not be as fortunate. There are a number of charitable organizations that allow for holiday gift donations in Chicago. With economic times being more difficult than ever, there is no better time to give back for the holidays.
Greater Chicago Food Depository
4100 W. Ann Lurie Place
Chicago, IL 60632
This is a nonprofit organization that works with 650 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in Cook County each year. With the holidays creating even more strain on the organizations that are helped through the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the cost of food rising, there is more help needed for the 807,690 adults and children that are food insecure in Cook County alone. Food is not only used to help feed needy families but is also used in programs offering job training to underemployed or unemployed adults seeking to work in the food service industry, like Chicago’s Community Kitchens. All food donations are tax deductible and make a huge difference to the lives of the many adults and children who are in need of food in the Chicago area, especially during the holiday season.
5033 N. Elston Ave.
Chicago, IL 60630
1601 N. Harlem Ave.
Chicago, IL 60707
Jaclyn Smith first talked about this act of kindness when she was on the talk show circuit promoting her famous line at Kmart. Coined after the connection between her former “Charlie’s Angels” show and the nature of the act of kindness, layaway angels pay off layaway balances for people shopping at Sears, Kmart and a number of other companies that offer layaway. NoozHawk quoted a Kmart representative as saying, “Anonymous layaway angels have been paying off strangers’ bills across the country. Layaway angels at Kmart alone have paid off more than 1,000 layaway accounts adding up to more than $400,000, with some people donating thousands of dollars.” There is a website to help facilitate this holiday gift donation at www.payawaythelayaway.com but you can easily visit your local Kmart or Sears and make a huge difference in a family’s holiday by paying off a layaway balance of clothes and toys.
Related: Best Holiday Volunteer Opportunities For The Family In Chicago
Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly
355 N. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60607
The holidays can be especially difficult for elder people living in isolation and loneliness. This organization offers a variety of programs that bring home visits to seniors or provide transportation to holiday celebrations. Its In-Kind Gifts is a great way to provide a holiday gift to an elder. Click here to download an In-Kind Donation form and view the current wish list for items needed to be donated.
Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights
208 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1818
Chicago, IL 60604
Heartland Alliance offers a variety of programs for people in need and from a diverse background. The organization helps people who were formerly homeless, victims of violence, low-income families, immigrants, refugees and a number of others who are in need of assistance. Its Adopt-a-Family program allows donators to receive a list of essential items along with a wish list of what a particular family might be needing during the holidays. Typical donation gifts are around $75 and include school supplies, winter outerwear, books, groceries and other necessities that can make a huge difference in the lives of one family in Chicago.
Metropolitan Family Services
Midway Children’s Center
3215 W. 63rd St.
Chicago, IL 60629
This organization helps families who have gone through hardships and challenges. From childhood programs to services geared toward the elderly, there are a variety of different arrangements for families. The holidays bring on extra care, funding and services for needy families. Donors can contribute gifts and goods or can bring in their gently used items to be resold at the Treasure House Resale Shop for financial assistance to this organization.