LOGAN SQUARE — Neighbors are stepping up to help the family of Parveen “Angel” Rajper, the leader of a popular community group who died earlier this month.
Rajper ran Logan Square’s “Buy Nothing” Facebook group, which aims to build community and help the environment through connecting neighbors with free goods. She died Nov. 7 at age 33, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office and her partner, Tomas Agapay.
Rajper’s cause of death hadn’t been determined as of Tuesday. She is survived by Agapay and five children, ages 8 months, 2, 9, 11 and 13.
Neighbors are rallying to help Rajper’s family, raising more than $11,000 through an online fundraiser to pay for a memorial service and a trust for her children and their education.
“She meant so much to many of us in this community, and we are heartbroken, just trying to wrap our heads around how deeply she will be missed,” neighbor Bethanie Omiecinski, who is one of the group’s leaders, said in a Facebook post that drew nearly 150 comments of condolences.
Rajper had been living in Logan Square with Agapay and their children for about three years before she died. Agapay said she ran the “Buy Nothing” Logan Square group to help others in the community, often filling their home with all sorts of free items waiting to be picked up.
“Her family generally was very into charity. She said she felt like it was an important thing for her to do,” Agapay said.
When Rajper wasn’t connecting neighbors with free end tables and T-shirts, she worked for a local senior center and took care of five children, Agapay said.
For years, Rajper battled depression, but outwardly, she was “always bright and happy,” Agapay said.
“She was such a fireball … one of the brightest stars I’d ever known and that I’ll ever know,” he said.
Rajper and her family moved to Chicago from a village in Pakistan when Rajper was 9 years old. But for most of Rajper’s life, she lived in southwest suburban Darien, Agapay said.
Agapay said his family is immensely grateful for the community’s support in the wake of Rajper’s sudden death. By sharing her story, he hopes to raise awareness about depression and the need for treatment, he said.
“I wish she would’ve been able to see how much people loved her. … It’s beautiful to see all of the giving she did and all of the happiness she brought other people. It’s great to see people bringing that back to our family,” he said. “I wish she could’ve known.”
To donate to Rajper’s family, go here.