By Angela Hazen
We all have are favorite places to shop, but many people try to give or donate to those in need. Instead of heading straight to your usual store, why not look into patronizing a business with a community goal? As an alternative, consider shopping at places where the company goal is to give back to the community. Some places give to families in need, and others help others learn and train for new careers. You may find yourself spending more time shopping there or even volunteering your time helping out the community, or you may learn to handle a workflow and keep productive while being out of the job market. While helping out others, you may come out with a great deal for yourself.
Sweet Beginnings, LLC
3726 W. Flournoy St.
Chicago, IL 60624
What is more enjoyable than skincare products and gifts made with real honey? How about an opportunity to help those reentering the employment market? Sweet Beginnings on Flournoy has BeeLove, a product line of truly incredible skincare items that are beneficial to your skin. But Sweet Beginnings gives back to the community by helping those formerly incarcerated train and work in a green industry, with apiaries right here in Chicago. Help yourself to amazing skincare while helping the community with products from Sweet Beginnings.
Panera Cares Community Cafe
616 W. Diversey Parkway
Chicago, IL 60657
Many people love the fresh bakery flavors of Panera, but they have a tough time coming up with the cash to provide themselves and their families with healthy, natural foods. Visit the Panera Cares Community Café on Diversey Parkway, where patrons can pay what they can during their visit, and therefore have access to great food in a friendly atmosphere. Whether you can pay your own way, if you can donate a little extra to help others or you are a little short on funds, you can help others and yourself in a relaxing environment.
Junior League of Evanston-North Shore Thrift House
920 Chicago Ave.
Evanston, IL 60202
The Junior League of the Evanston-North Shore is known for a variety of community projects, and a well-loved favorite of many is its Thrift House, and with good reason. This thrift store sells gently used merchandise including furniture, books and clothing for great prices. Plus, the proceeds help support the Junior League, and you can help out the communities the organization assists.
Animal Care League 2nd Chance Shop
808 Harrison St.
Oak Park, IL 60302
Almost everyone loves the idea of a new pet in the house, and the Animal Care League of Oak Park has a goal of helping dogs and cats in need of homes find loving families. However, even if you are not exactly an animal lover, or you can’t adopt a pet at the moment, you can still help out by shopping the Animal Care League’s 2nd Chance Shop on Harrison. This store carries vintage jewelry, antiques and clothing and the proceeds go to helping out the Care League save animals. Shop for a cause and help friendly pets find homes at the 2nd Chance Shop.
Free Geek Chicago
3411 W. Diversey Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
Looking for desktop and laptop computers but trying to not spend high-end retail prices? You may want to try out Free Geek Chicago, and perhaps spend less than you would at a big box media store. Free Geek does a lot to help out the community like holding workshops and training sessions that are great for people of all ages who would love to learn more about working with and repairing computers. Free Geek also accepts cash and equipment donations, so your purchase will help volunteers and donors keep the helpful atomosphere growing.
Angela Hazen lives in Oak Park, IL. She has worked as a model in Chicago and studied broadcast journalism at Columbia College Chicago. She has traveled to Europe on several occasions, and keeps her readers up to date with local and international style, shopping, fashion and beauty trends. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.