Holiday helpers | Public Service Announcement | Chicago Reader

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Holiday helpers

Volunteer opportunities across the Chicago area this Christmas season


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These shelter kittens aren't going to cuddle themselves, people. They need you. - COURTESY FAMOUS FIDO RESCUE
  • courtesy Famous Fido Rescue
  • These shelter kittens aren't going to cuddle themselves, people. They need you.

Building community is the reason for the holiday season! There's no better way to show your fellow citizens that you appreciate them and love this city than by offering your skills and time as a volunteer. There are a plethora of organizations in Chicagoland that need more hands to help get their important work done, and we've listed a few of them here. If you'd like to find more organizations, or different kinds of volunteer opportunities, a good resource is the Volunteer Match website at, where you can search by location, topic, time requirements, and more. Keep in mind that all of these organizations will gladly receive a gift of money from you, so get in touch with them if you can give dollars but are short on time.

Read/Write Library Chicago
Needs drop-in help for shelving, cataloging, and staffing (opening the doors and greeting visitors); visit for details. 914 N. California (entrance on Walton) 773-336-2516 or

The WasteShed Creative Reuse Center
Needs help sorting and pricing creative reuse materials and coordinating events; see for details. 2842 W. Chicago 773-666-5997 or

Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange
Needs help sorting and arranging items in the warehouse space; check out for details. 2124 W. 82nd Pl. (at the Envision Unlimited Frick Center)

My Block, My Hood, My City
Needs: ongoing volunteer help throughout the year, including shoveling sidewalks for seniors, mowing lawns, and more. MBMHMC is hosting holiday decoration events in public thoroughfares in several neighborhoods this December; go to for scheduling and to sign up. Various locations in Chicago or fill out this form:

Housing Forward/PADS Emergency Shelter program
Needs help to set up and break down temporary sheltering at area churches and prepare meals for guests; go to for details. At churches across the suburbs, including Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, and Berwyn 708-338-1724, ext. 220 or 202, or

Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care
Needs hospice patient support/companions (including bilingual people who speak Spanish or Polish) to keep a loving presence for hospice patients for a few hours while their family members run errands or take a short break. Go to to sign up and get more information. 7435 W. Talcott (and other area locations) 847-685-9900

Open Heart Magic
Volunteers are trained as "Certified Hospital Magicians" and scheduled on Saturdays to visit children in area hospitals and entertain them bedside. Go to for more information. At various area hospitals, including La Rabida Children's Hospital, 6501 S. Promontory, and Rush University Children's Hospital, 1653 W. Congress 312-624-8079

American Cancer Society
800-227-2345 The American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program provides volunteer drivers to cancer patients who need help getting to treatment and other appointments. Driver's license and car required. Go to to learn more.

Famous Fido Rescue & Adoption Alliance
Animal-loving volunteers at this local rescue can work as dog or cat cuddlers and socialize with animals needing human companionship. Go to to learn more. 3124 W. Irving Park 773-907-0305  v

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