The Chicago Help Initiative gives back through community gardening project


CHICAGO, IL, August 13, 2013  – The Chicago Help Initiative (CHI) has launched its latest project – a gardening program aimed at bringing together members of the community and giving back to Chicago.

CHI teamed up with Water Tower Realty and landscape architect Colin Reeves to garden three small plots of land in the parkway at One East Superior, located in the city’s near north neighborhood. CHI, which serves a weekly meal to area homeless and very low income, gathered volunteers from their dinner guests. The participants gardened on a weekly basis throughout June and July. Each week the turnout ranged from one to six guests, with those individuals who enjoyed the gardening coming back on a consistent basis.

Access to the space and funds for specific plants chosen and planted by CHI’s guests was provided by Water Tower Realty, while Flower Show Productions, Inc, (better known as the producer of the Chicago Flower and Garden Show) donated the bulk of the plants.

“Our goal was to add something beautiful to the neighborhood while building essential positive relationships between our guests” said Doug Fraser, Executive Director of The Chicago Help Initiative. After the initial clearing and design and the bulk planting was done, each of the four guests who regularly participated in the program had a specific area where they could design and plant the way they wanted. These regulars will also continue to help maintain the gardens going forward. Once complete, Water Tower Realty and CHI will dedicate the gardens in memory of Nick Karris, Founder and CEO of The Water Tower Companies.

“All of us need meaningful activities that add value to our sense of self and connect us to the people and places around us,” said Jacqueline C. Hayes, President and Founder of The Chicago Help Initiative.  “Gardening, for many people can be a part of doing that.”

Stories Of Interest

Stories Of Interest

We're proud of the impact that our programs can have on our guests. Read some of our success stories.

Read More
Bike Fair

Bike Fair

Members of Working Bikes Cooperative collect abandoned bikes throughout the city. The bikes are refurbished and donated to worthy causes – and CHI is… Read More
Literacy Program

Literacy Program

CHI holds a regular weekly literacy program that matches volunteer tutors to individuals that need assistance. Our volunteers complete a one-day training workshop and then,… Read More