LAKEVIEW — Gay bars and nightlife workers in Lakeview are banding together to create Valentine’s Day cards for LGBTQ seniors in the neighborhood.
The Chicago Black Drag Council has partnered with several bars along the North Halsted strip to create drop-off points where people can make their own valentines and send them to seniors at the Town Hall Apartments, an LGBTQ-friendly senior living facility at 3600 N. Halsted St.
“It’s a really cute idea of honoring our seniors and bringing some extra joy into their lives with something as simple as a homemade Valentine,” said Jo MaMa, a drag queen and co-founder of the Chicago Black Drag Council.
Some bars, like Replay Lakeview, 3439 N. Halsted St., have created stations with blank cards and coloring tools for people to make their Valentine’s Day cards while dining. Anyone who sends a valentine from Replay will also get a free Truly, a manager said.
Cards will be collected through Friday. Other participating bars:
- Progress Bar, 3359 N. Halsted St.
- Roscoe’s Tavern, 3356 N. Halsted St.
- Sidetrack 3349 N. Halsted St.
- Scarlet Bar, 3320 N. Halsted St.
The Valentine’s effort is a partnership between the Drag Council; Danny Beers, a local bartender who started running a food drive for the LGBTQ seniors when he lost his job at the start of the pandemic; and local nonprofit Our Art of Giving.
“It’s been a whole year now, and isolation among seniors was a problem even before the pandemic,” said Beers, who had volunteered at the Town Hall Apartments twice a week before the pandemic.
Since starting the food drive, Beers has raised thousands of dollars to support LGBTQ seniors with food, household essentials and care packages.
For the holidays, Beers and the Art of Giving Team gave Town Hall residents “a cup of warmth” with a coffee mug, hot cocoa packet, bifocal reader and body lotions, Beers said
The group also helped replace one resident’s broken radio, which he often used to listen to music at his kitchen table.
“Anything that will help ease the isolation of this pandemic is what we’re looking to give them,” Beers said. “And to show them a little bit of love — whether it’s through a care package or a valentine — is so important.”
Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.
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