One of the great things about Chicago is that it is full of communities that care about the people living in them. Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood is no different, so it isn’t very hard to find great places to volunteer your time. Here are just a few of the wonderful places that help their neighbors in Uptown”
The Jewish Uptown Cafe is a non-profit that seeks to help people of all faiths in Chicago, as well as throughout the world. Volunteers can check out their calendar of events to choose from a wide range of events to volunteer for. People can volunteer at the cafe for any of its dinners that provide Kosher meals and companionship to hungry people in the area. Volunteers can also prepare packages of food for other foundations like the Ark at the center, or provide comfort and conversation to the city’s elderly residents. More information can be found at www.juf.org.
The Inspiration Corporation provides meals and job training for Uptown residents at the same time. People gain job-training by learning to cook in the cafe’s kitchen, which then serves meals to the community. They also have tutoring, and training for other job skills, such as learning how to use a computer. Volunteers are always needed, and are expected to go through an orientation class before spending time in the field. The great thing about this organization is that you can volunteer in whatever capacity you like. If you are familiar with HR, you can help with mock-interviews, if you are a cook, you can train in the cafe. Volunteers can pretty much write their own ticket at the Inspiration Corporation. Their web address is www.inspirationcorp.org.
Of course, there are many other places to volunteer in the city, so one other option is to check out the Chicago Cares website. They post a calendar of events that need volunteers for many different organizations throughout the city. Just click on the date that you are available, and you can choose from any number of activities throughout the city. Simply email the person in charge, and they will give you all of the info that you need to volunteer for that day. You can find more information about the Chicago Cares Calendar at www.chicagocares.org.
All of these organizations are staffed by warm, caring people. Even if its your first time volunteering, they will help guide you through the process and ensure that you have fun along the way. Uptown is a diverse and vibrant community, and the people who live there are always willing to lend a helping hand.