“The Chicago Help Initiative is an oasis from the stress and indignity of being down, from feeling hopeless. To be in an environment where one is respected, valued and encouraged is very meaningful and important. The nourishment of the meals we serve is not merely physical but also social, spiritual and psychological.”
As the year’s end approaches, we are so grateful for our supporters, volunteers, and partnering organizations who make it possible for us to provide weekly meals, and health and social services year-round to Chicagoans in need and experiencing homelessness. Read on to learn what our supporters enabled us to accomplish in 2017:
* More than 6,700 meals to our guests - 130 delicious meals every week - from some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, hotels and caterers
* More than 3,500 additional take-away bag meals for people unable to join our Wednesday sit-down meals
* Weekly, free health services including HIV, hepatitis C and syphilis testing, blood pressure screening, mental health referrals, and over 300 visits with a nurse practitioner
* Access to social services for our guests through one-on-one on-site consultations with our social workers
* One-on-one tutoring for up to 45 guests who participate in weekly sessions to hone their intellectual and creative interests
* More than 100 referrals to job training services
* Free bicycles, helmets and locks to more than 75 people through our annual Bike Fair
As you can see, CHI does much more than provide healthful meals to people in need. Our programs and services are a vital part of what makes CHI an indispensable resource for needy Chicagoans. Among the programs we launched or expanded this year:
Arts & Culture - This past March, we launched a special program, in partnership with Red Line Service, for a group of our guests to attend museum exhibits, live theater performances, film screenings, educational lectures and more. Each outing is followed by a delicious meal and group discussion. We have partnered with Loyola University to evaluate the approach to improving our guests’ lives through art and companionship.
Jobs Club - Up to 30 of our guests participate in a weekly workshop led by experienced volunteers to improve their interviewing skills, build a resume, explore employment opportunities, and fill out job applications. Earlier this year we shared the story of Kenny, one of our guests, who we assisted in finding gainful employment (read Kenny’s story on our blog).
Adult Learning- Led by an experienced educator, our weekly sessions provide one-on-one tutoring with volunteers for our guests who want to improve their math, reading, writing and computer skills, and explore their creative interests.
We want to do more in 2018 to uplift the lives of Chicagoans who are in need and experiencing homelessness, unemployment, and your donation to The Chicago Help Initiative will help sustain and nourish the meals and free services and programs we provide throughout next year to Chicagoans who are in need and experiencing homelessness. Please make your year-end contribution by December 31, to make a positive difference in the lives of the people we serve. To make a donation online,click here.
From all of us at The Chicago Help Initiative, we wish you a peaceful, joy-filled Happy New Year!