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Written by on March 24, 2020

Hey! Chicago

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary efforts.  We’ll be scouring the interwebs and tweets every day to bring you a daily digest of good things to do for yourself and your community.  Have a tip for something we should add to our daily digest?  E-mail us at info@vocalo.org.

Do Good #47: Volunteer with Chicago’s Food Bank

As thousands of families and individuals across the country are lining up for food banks, it’s more important than ever that those of us who can help … do. Sign up today to volunteer here in Chicago, or donate so that Chicago’s food bank can continue to feed those in most need. If you’re looking for food, check out their map hereSK

Do Good #46: Foster With A Local Animal Shelter

Shelters across the city – and country – are struggling to find space and money to take care of all their furry friends right now.

If you want to help, but are concerned about the financial situation, fostering an animal is a great option! As the Tribune states, “You can take an animal for the short term and have that companionship and not worry about additional costs. Also, if you don’t want to walk outside or want a smaller animal you can foster bunnies and guinea pigs.”

Many shelters around the city are hosting road-side pickups for foster families right now. Leaders around Chicago suggest visiting your local shelter’s website for up-to-date information if you’re interested. SK

Do Good #45: Chicago Medical Students Come Together

Medical students across the city were asked to stay home and removed from their clinicals, but that isn’t stopping them from trying to make a difference. While individual universities throughout Chicago had strong independent movements, the city’s medical students have come together into a large organization working to bring PPE where it’s needed, advocate for blood drives, get lab equipment, coordinate volunteers, and more! Check out their recent features in the Tribune and WBEZ and the GoFundMeSK

Do Good #44: Chicago Sports Company Makes Masks

Champro Sports, a Chicago-based sporting goods company, is now making masks instead of uniforms. They said business is down by 90% right now, so this is a way to help out and bring back workers. While most of the masks are being made for senior living facilities right now, they currently have a surgical mask prototype they are also testing. A true example of Chicago Strong. SK

Do Good #43: Become A Trained Listener 

If you want to volunteer within your community right now, but aren’t sure how, this might be the one for you! 7 Cups offers online therapy and 24/7 chats, no matter what you’re going through. You can become an online listener and provide free emotional support. Training takes around 30 minutes to complete and your progress will be saved, so if you have to stop partway, you can log back in to continue where you left off. Sign up hereSK

Do Good #42: Rally For Laid Off University Workers

UNITE HERE Local 1 is hosting virtual rallies to demand pay for the university workers laid off during COVID-19. In a mission statement the group says, “Institutions like the University of Chicago, MIT, Georgetown University, the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks have already committed to ensuring their subcontracted workers are paid during this time. Northwestern, Loyola, DePaul, and Dominican should work with Compass Group, Aramark, and Quest Food Management Services– the worker’s direct employers— to do the same, while workers are laid off!”

The rally for Loyola University Chicago workers will take place on April 2 at 3:30pm and again on April 7 for DePaul University workers. To join, tune in hereSK

Do Good #41: Laugh Along to “Where’s Lori?”

In a hilarious new Chicago meme, pictures of Mary Lori Lightfoot have been photoshopped into locations all over the city to remind residents to stay home. The instagram page, which now has over 40 thousand followers, has exploded in popularity both locally and nationally. And the best part? Mayor Lightfoot has said she can’t get enough either! The taste! SK

Do Good #40: Join JASC For Virtual Soup & Rice 

Chicago’s own Japanese American Service Committee (JASC) has been a pillar in the Japanese American community for decades. During the winter months they host community soup & rice meals. This Friday, April 3, even though the in person gathering is canceled, you can still get involved!

To join, take a photo of your cooking rice and soup (and feel free to share your recipe with the rest of us!!), then feel free to make a donation. We’ll see you – and your soups – there. SK

Do Good #39: Visually Check On Your Neighbors

In a post now shared nearly a million times, Facebook user Glynis Mullen suggests putting colored paper up in windows to declare how you’re doing that day. For those who might need extra help – senior citizens, single parents, caregivers, etc. – a yellow or red colored paper can mean calling over to check in. In these times we are stronger together! SK

Do Good #38: Fill The City With Color And Support Local Media

Looking for more kid-centric activities? Need something to zen out with after a tough day of working from home? Our friends at Chicago Reader partnered with over 50 local artists to put together a coloring book of Chicago landmarks. All proceeds benefit not only the Chicago Reader, but also the artists themselves! Color on!

Do Good #37: Participate In The Census

It’s April 1, and here in the United States, it’s census day! By now, everyone has probably received a census form to fill out. Filling out the census is critical to have everyone’s voice fairly represented in the future. If you have a few minutes today take some time to fill out the census! LM

Do Good #36: Call NAMI Chicago For A Supportive, Listening Ear

The shutdown has brought up feelings of anxiety and stress for many. Being cooped up at home surely does not help. If you need anyone to talk to during this pandemic, the Chicago branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness has a hotline available every day of the week. Talk to someone, stay connected, you are NOT ALONE … LM

Do Good #35: Support Illinois Artists

Arts For Illinois is a website dedicated to showing the work of performers, singers, poets, painters, writers, and more from across the state. They strive to give artists a platform to shine, be noticed and receive support. As such, Arts For Illinois has started a relief fund to help artists in desperate need of help. Let art be a beacon of hope as you assist artists in need. LM

Do Good #34: Help Out Small, Independent Music Venues

Independent music venues around Chicago are struggling because of the coronavirus shutdown. These venues have been a cultural lifeblood of our city for years, and we want to make sure they are still here once this all blows over … give ’em a little hand. LM

Do Good #33: Reserve A Grocery Shopping Time

The app OpenTable is partnering with grocery stores around the country to encourage social distancing…even while we grocery shop! At participating grocery stores, you can “reserve” a time to shop and even receive a text alert when it’s your turn to go. It’s all in an effort to reduce crowd sizes as well all attempt to #FlattenTheCurve. SK

Do Good #32: Wear Blue Day 2020

If you’re unable to financially contribute to a cause in this moment, but still want to participate in raising awareness, the Prevent Child Abuse America network is hosting a nationwide “wear blue day” on Friday, April 3. Post your pics with #WearBlueDay2020 to help promote Child Abuse Prevention Month this April.

“In times of uncertainty such as these, when school and workplace closings can increase parents’ stress, children and families need your support even more than usual.” SK


Do Good #31: Attend The First Chicago Heart Ball Virtual Auction

Every year American Heart Association Chicago hosts the Chicago Heart Ball. While this year’s festivities have been postponed from April 4 to June 27, the organization is still celebrating the volunteers and donors that have helped create a healthier Chicago with their first-ever virtual auction. It will open on April 2 at 9am and close on April 4 at 9pm. To bid, register hereSK


Do Good #30: Virtual History Happy Hour

Chicago Detours usually gives guided walking and bus tours of Chicago’s historic bars, architecture, and neighborhoods to explore stories and places many locals may not even know about. But with the stay-at-home orders, they’ve moved their love of learning online. Now, you can participate in a 20-minute virtual talk every weekday at 6pm (bringing a drink is encouraged). And there’s a different topic each day! The event is free, with a $5-15 suggested donation, but you must register here as space is limited.

Upcoming topics include “Five Badass Women of Chicago History,” and “Chicago Sports History from Street Brawls to the World Series.” For a full list of upcoming talks, visit their Facebook pageSK

Do Good #29: Adopt A Stay-At-Home Buddy

Chicago Animal Care and Control is offering FREE adoptions for all pets six months and older through March 31. With stay-at-home in place, many shelters are struggling financially and with lower adoption rates. Consider finding yourself a cute little friend to wait out the rest of quarantine with and take advantage of this incredible offer! After all, if you have to be stuck at home, why not be stuck with a snuggle buddy?! SK


Do Good #28: Musician Relief Fund

The Chicago Federation of Musicians is providing a relief fund for members in good standing who are experiencing a loss of work and/or wages as a result of COVID-19. The deadline to apply is Monday, March 30. If you want to donate to help Chicago’s local artists you can find out more hereSK

Do Good #27: Free Workouts With Studio Three

Chicago’s own Studio Three combines interval, cycle, and yoga disciplines. While the two physical locations are closed for now, the studio is hosting multiple, free Instagram Live sessions every day. Plus, with play-back streaming, you can watch whenever works for you. So whether you prefer working out in the morning, afternoon, or evening, there’s something for everyone! SK

Do Good #26: Help Keep CPS Students Well-Fed

Chicago Bear Allen Robinson and his organization, Within Reach Foundation, are teaming up with Chicago Food Depository to assist in providing meals for CPS students that need it. For many students, school lunches are an essential resource for their families and their own well-being. With the pandemic in full effect, many are losing this key necessity. Consider donating what you can. LM


Do Good #25: University Of Chicago Assists South Side Community Amid Coronavirus

The libraries may be empty, the quads may be silent and classes may have moved online for the semester, but University of Chicago is stepping up for their community. Through several different programs, UChicago has been helping out South Side small businesses, as well as preparing and delivering thousands of meals to locals in need. LM


Do Good #24: Shop Online, Locally!

I think we can all draw a sigh of relief that even in these times of quarantine, delivery and post services are still active. When you can’t leave your home to purchase essentials, online markets are but a click away. So if you want to support struggling Chicago businesses with your delivery dollars, now you can! The new website Shop in Place Chicago is up and running, with tons of Chicago businesses that you can support with your virtual purchases. LM

Do Good #23: Logan Square Restaurant Offering Take Home Meal Kits 

Countless people are losing their jobs, struggling to pay rent and buy food due to COVID-19. With these concerns in mind, Fat Rice restaurant in Logan Square is establishing a relief kitchen, providing meal kits for those who need it. LM

Do Good #22: Help Yourself To A Cocktail From The Comfort Of Your Own Home

I think a lot of us need a drink these days. While you may not be able to sit at your favorite local watering hole, several bars are selling make-at-home cocktail kits, it’s five o’clock somewhere (indoors, or course). LM

Do Good #21: Donate To Specific Hardships Around Chicago

Want to donate, but don’t know where to begin? Chicago organizers Kelly Hayes and Delia Galindo have set up a website where you can select a hardship you would like to address, then linking you to available relief and donation centers. It’s a wonderful place to begin the search to do good. LM

Do Good #20: Donate to The National Museum of Mexican Art

We are all lucky that the National Museum of Mexican Art can call Chicago home. Like many others, the NMMA has had to close its galleries due to the pandemic, but this closure may have a long-lasting impact on the Museum that lasts far beyond the crisis. This Museum, with its free admission, doesn’t ask for much. Consider helping this staple of the community to bring us cultural enlightenment for years to come. LM

Do Good #19: Support The Chicago Latino Film Festival

While the festival has been postponed from the original April 16-30 dates, you can still watch some of their best short films. The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago is now offering a streaming service, CLFF Más, to showcase films from previous festival years. And the best part is that from now until April 30, you can use the promo code SPRING30 to get 30% off! SK

Do Good #19: Audition For #AroundBroadwayIn80Days

With the high school musical theatre awards canceled, Broadway In Chicago’s very own Hamilton, Miguel Cervantes, is hosting an online talent showcase! As their website states, “If you played or were scheduled to play a qualifying role at an IHSMTA participating school this year or you are an alumni of the program,” you are eligible to apply. The deadline is May 31 and the submission form can be found here. SK

Do Good #18: Attend An Online Entrepreneurial Training Program

The nonprofit Rogers Park Business Alliance is looking to assist small businesses during Illinois’ shelter-at-home order. They will be hosting a ten-session, online entrepreneurial training program, GROW/PROGRESANDO, beginning on April 1 (English language) and April 2 (Spanish language).

To register, contact RPBA at 773-508-5885 (ext. 130) or email smoratto@rpba.org. ¿Quiere más información?, contáctenos al 773-508-5885 (extensión 110) o por correo electrónico rfernandez@rpba.orgSK

Do Good #17: Dive Into A New Chicago-Based Podcast

South Side Stories,” from Comedy Central and our very own WBEZ Chicago, is a look at the actual people and places that inspired the hit new Comedy Central series, ‘South Side.’ It’s a look at a what you won’t see in the news – laughter, love, and talk from a side of the city that is often painted in another light. We may not be able to go outside right now, but we can still stay connected to the communities making up our city. The show is hosted by ‘South Side’ creators and executive producers Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin. SK

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Do Good #16: Social Works Is Working For The Youth

SocialWorks, founded by Chance the Rapper, aims to empower the youth through the arts, education, and civic engagement.  They compiled a cool list of resources for young people.  SR

Do Good #15: DCASE Support 

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy.   This year’s programming theme of Chicago Music will go on in new and reimagined ways. SR 

Do Good #14: Support Local Record Stores

Following Governor Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order, many local businesses are struggling to stay open. Among those are record stores, many of which are fighting to stay afloat during this pandemic. Online record sales for many of these stores are live, however. Here’s a list of what some of these record stores are doing and how you can help. LM

Do Good #13: Become Involved As a Youth Leader

Don’t think you are too young to get involved in your community. If you are between the ages of 14-20, Mikva Challenge is accepting applications until May 1 for their Youth Program.  They are committing to creating jobs for young people even if they become virtual. LM

Do Good #12: Grow Your Own Spring Garden

During WWII, people planted so-called Victory Gardens, growing their own food at home to alleviate the burden of supply chains. And Chicago was the leading city in this home garden movement. And what better time to grow your own food than now? Grow some food, and also alleviate some of the anxieties of home isolation. Maybe you’re a green thumb in the making! LM

Do Good #11: 18th Street Distillery Brews Hand Sanitizer

18th Street Distillery in Hammond Indiana will be focusing their efforts on providing hand sanitizers in bulk to the medical professions, retirement homes, and those on the front lines in this war against COVID-19. They plan to drop off the hand sanitizers in bulk in Northwest Indiana and surrounding areas.  Drew Fox is a Chicago native and the founder of the distillery, he shared with us that he was inspired to do this because of his wife who is an ER nurse.  Here’s the GoFundMe page. SR

Do Good #10: Pen Pal With Skokie’s Legacy Healthcare

Legacy Healthcare’s “Letters of Love” program connects community members with healthcare residents to exchange pen pal letters and crafts. Take advantage of your free time by matching with a facility resident and get your creative side flowing! To get involved, email wecare@legacyhc.com. SK

Do Good #9: Virtually Tour A Museum

Just because we’re stuck inside for the time being doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy some of the best museums around! Take a tour of collections all over the world like the Vatican MuseumsLondon’s Natural History Museum, or Seoul’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art through a virtual museum tour. Several pages have even put together extensive lists (such as these two) of all the places you can explore from the comfort of your own couch! SK

Do Good #8: Celebrate Edgewater’s Restaurant Week

From March 20-March 30 Edgewater, one of Chicago’s northern neighborhoods, is celebrating their Virtual Restaurant Week. Help support local business (and smack on some scrumptious food) while discovering something new! And, just as a cautionary reminder, the CDC has stated that there is no evidence of COVID-19 transfer through food. So don’t be afraid to take advantage of this from now until Monday. SK

Do Good #7: Volunteer with Lakeview Pantry

An important way for Chicagoans to stay involved and help out their community in the midst of COVID-19 is through donating time and/or resources to local food pantries. Lakeview Pantry is currently looking for volunteers and distributers, and you can get involved by emailing volunteers@lakeviewpantry.org. SK

Do Good #6: Watch An Online Concert

“Together At Home” is a virtual concert series sponsored by Global Citizen, the World Health Organization (WHO), and artists all over the world. It’s goal is, “To ease people’s minds and bring them joy and a sense of shared humanity as public shutdowns and social distancing take effect globally.” With previous performances by John Legend, Niall Horan, AJR, Charlie Puth and more, it’s already gained plenty of attention online. Today, Chloe x Halle will perform on their Instagram Live at 4:00 p.m. EST and Lauv will be on his own Instagram Live at 6:00 p.m. EST. SK

Do Good #5: Check With Your Local Chamber of Commerce

Neighborhoods all across Chicago are getting creative with their local events. Google your own chamber’s social media accounts or official websites for an up-to-date look at what you can participate in, safely, during our collective stay-at-home. SK

Do Good #4: Donate Blood

In healthcare settings all across the United States, donated blood is a lifesaving, essential part of caring for patients. The need for donated blood is constant, and blood centers are open and in urgent need of donations. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages people who are well to continue to donate blood if they are able, even if they are practicing social distancing because of COVID-19. CDC is supporting blood centers by providing recommendations that will keep donors and staff safe. Examples of these recommendations include spacing donor chairs 6 feet apart, thoroughly adhering to environmental cleaning practices, and encouraging donors to make donation appointments ahead of time. SR

Do Good #3: Support Hospitality Workers

Food journalist Michael Nagrant is starting a new food newsletter: Love in the Time of Coronavirus. All profits for the foreseeable future will be donated to Hospitality United & charities that help food people in a time of need. SR

Do Good #2: The Chicago Reader Needs Chicago

The Reader and other community media need you more than ever. Tracy Baim, Publisher of the Chicago Reader, reports that they have lost close to 90 percent of their advertising revenue and suspect this will last at least two months. Donate to help keep their virtual doors open! SR

Do Good #1: Write A Selfie

Chicago Poet Kevin Coval, Co-Founder of Young Chicago Author’s Louder Than A Bomb, is asking everybody to write a self-portrait aka selfie. SR

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