By Jacqueline Runice

If you regularly read Twitter or other social media posts, you may wonder where all the humanitarians have gone. World Humanitarian Day, Saturday, Aug. 19, gives you the opportunity to let loose your inner Good Samaritan and add some positivity, kindness and compassion to our scorching earth. The UN General Assembly designated the day in Dec. 2008 which commemorates the the date in  2003 when a terrorist attack took the lives of 22 at UN headquarters in Baghdad. According to the UN, “Humanitarian aid is based on a number of founding principles, including humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence.” Although Chicago doesn’t offer official events, why not take the time to flex your humanitarian muscle at any or all of these local opportunities to awaken to being better human by helping others.

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World Relief Chicago 2017 Refugee 5K
Bunker Hill Forest Preserve
W. Harts Road
Chicago, IL 60714
(773) 583-9191

Date: Sept. 9, 2017 at 7:15 a.m.

World Relief Chicago (WRC) has helped resettle more than15,000 refugees and achieve self-sufficiency in Chicago through employment services, English education and youth services. Annually, there are about 400 newly arriving refugees from across the globe, Albania and Angola to the Ukraine and Viet Nam. You can volunteer for course set-up, registration, start/finish line, or water stations at the 2017 Refugee 5K. If you can’t make that date, World Relief Chicago holds Volunteer Orientation twice monthly at various  locations (the next ones are on Aug. 12 and 31). You can also volunteer to help people apply for citizenship (no experience needed), be a health advocate, an English tutor and more.

Chicago Cares
2 N. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1800
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 780-0800

Date: Oct. 10, 2017 at 5 p.m.

The mission of Chicago Cares is to mobilize volunteers “to build a stronger, more unified Chicago.” Year round volunteer opportunities range from job coaching, serving meals, gardening and mentoring kids to organizing birthday parties for the elderly. Check the monthly calendar at the web site and you’ll find others needing your help nearly every day. The massive “serve-a-thon” occurred in June, however, this October, you can attend the Find Your Cause Networking Event at the Chicago Cultural Center when young professionals match skills and interests with some 50 community-based organizations in need of volunteers and associate board members.

500 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 1000
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 222-8900

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UNICEF makes it easy to support others of your species – especially the young ones. UNICEF Kid Power, an activity tracker that makes actual impact around the world, has been in Chicago-area schools for three years. Kids and families wear the UNICEF Kid Power Band or participate with the free App and every step taken goes to unlocking lifesaving nutrition for severely malnourished children across the planet.  It gets American kids off the couch, helps save lives globally and generates humanitarian spirit in the next generation. It works, too! American kids and U.S. UNICEF have unlocked the goods to save the lives of over 40,000 malnourished children. Buy the band here and soon Junior will be working out to help peers. No kids? No prob. Use your online media presence for good. Host a digital fundraiser to support UNICEF.

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Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
9603 Woods Drive
Skokie, IL 60077
(847) 967-4800

Date: Now through Nov. 12, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At the confluence of  music festival season and World Humanitarian Day, take the opportunity to see the exhibit Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. Offering an immersive sensory experience with costumes, light show, concert footage, iconic photographs from rock’s most famous photographers and psychedelic posters, the exhibit also honors the accomplishments of concert promoter extraordinaire, Bill Graham, who overcame the trauma of fleeing the Holocaust in Nazi Germany and went on to shape popular culture,  advocate for social justice and help humanitarian causes.

Chef Carrie Nahabedian
43 E. Ohio St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 521-8700

Date: Aug. 29, 2017 at 6 p.m.

The Chicago culinary community bursts with innovation as well as generosity.  You can get in on the helping, humanitarian spirit simply by purchasing and eating stellar food. One of the most creative chefs in a city of impressive culinary masters, the inimitable Carrie Nahabedian, owner of Brindille and Chef/Owner of NAHA  will trek a few blocks over to Eataly on Aug. 29 to prepare pizza – a classic crust crowned with luleh kebab spiced Lamb, Armenian string cheese and Greek feta cheese, wood roasted Tropea onions, Kalamata olives, thyme and her favorite Istanbul spice market salt. When you snap one up, $10 of every pizza purchase will go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

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