HUMBOLDT PARK — A volunteer-led group will give away food, toys and more to neighbors in need at a Humboldt Park liquor store this week.
The community food and toy drive is set for 4-8 p.m. Wednesday at Yauco Liquors, 2744 W. Division St. Winter gear, masks, books and hot meals will be provided.
It’s the latest giveaway for the Humboldt Park Solidarity Network, which has organized a string of similar events since the start of the pandemic.
The organization has about 50 members, said longtime Humboldt Park resident Nicolas Hernandez, one of the group’s founders.
Hernandez said they founded the group after coronavirus hit Chicago in March in direct response to the ballooning needs of Humboldt Park residents.
Since then, the group members have hosted nearly 20 food drives and several other free, community-based events — and they have no plans to slow down.
The upcoming event is being held on Three Kings Day, or Día de los Reyes Magos, a traditional day of celebration in Mexico and many Latin American countries.
“People are going hungry and people are going cold. We have to do something,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez said the volunteers use their personal networks to pull in partnerships with local businesses and organizations, which is why the group is a “solidarity network” and not a mutual aid organization.
Those partnerships have produced a mix of giveaways and workshops covering everything from an overdose reversal training to community art classes and art shows hosted by Hernandez, who is an artist.
“The goal was to give parents a break,” Hernandez said of the art classes.
Hernandez said he felt compelled to give back as a resident of Humboldt Park who had struggles growing up.
“A lot of these folks remind me of my mom. They remind of my dad, my grandma. How would I feel if my mom or my dad were waiting in food lines just to survive?” he said. “As a child, there were times where I was waiting with my mom in food lines, waiting for hope. That’s one of the things that really motivates me personally to do this.”
Hernandez’s group is accepting donations. To donate or volunteer with Humboldt Park Solidarity Network, reach out to the group directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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