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100 Ways You Helped: Here’s How Chicagoans Lifted Their Neighbors Through COVID-19 Pandemic

One year ago, life as we knew it was upended by a pandemic and other crises. When the systems we were used to relying on failed, Chicagoans stepped up to save each other.


A Pandemic Anniversary To Celebrate: This Kenwood Couple Brought Music, Light To Their Block During The Darkest Days Of COVID

Jean-Paul Coffy and Yakini Ajanaku played music on their porch for 105 straight evenings at the start of the pandemic. On Saturday, they'll celebrate a year of their effort to unite neighbors.

Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Here’s How You Can Help Make Easter Baskets, Meals For West Side Families

Helendora Samuels and Robert Magiet plan to hand out baskets and meals from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. April 3 in various locations throughout the city.

Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

With ‘Taste For The Homeless,’ A South Side Chef Feeds Hundreds Across The City: ‘Helping Is What He Does’

Michael "Chef Mike" Airhart is serving up gourmet-style cuisine to fill stomachs and share love. He was inspired after watching someone throw away pizza rather than give it to someone asking for a slice.


West Siders Celebrate Birthdays By Raising Money For Community Stimulus: ‘Everybody Should Receive Gifts’

Organizers are giving away gift cards at their weekly food giveaway, Soup for the Soul, at Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church on Monday. Here's how you can donate.

Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

Bar And Restaurant Workers Can Get A Free Meal Thanks To Local Groups On St. Patrick’s Day

Restaurants and bars closed a year ago to stop the spread of COVID-19, hitting hospitality workers hard. "We were supposed to be out of work for two weeks," one said. "It's been a year."

Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Portage Park Woman Provides Free Items To People In Need With Her Treasure Box Program

"My dream is to fill my entire house with things that I’m going to give away," Jaclyn Crawford said. "That would make me so happy."

Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

These Southwest Siders Are Feeding Hundreds For Free And Putting Laid-Off Restaurant Workers Back To Work

Food’s Here, a program launched by a grassroots collective, uses extra food from meal subscription services and a closed restaurant to feed people hard hit by the pandemic.

Gage Park, Brighton Park

Albany Park Woman Launches Memorial For Chicagoans Lost To Coronavirus: ‘They’re Not Just A Number; They’re Actually People That We Love’

Luz María Vargas lost her mother to coronavirus and sought to establish temporary memorials for people to grieve. The Buckingham Fountain memorial will be there through Wednesday.


Toby The Dog Is Home Safe Thanks To Neighbor Brigade, Chicago Police Officers: ‘It Truly Was A Combined Effort’

Nelly Roa was so happy to be reunited with her lost pup she slept on the floor with him his first night home.

Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

South Shore Neighbors Launch Mutual Aid Effort To Shovel Snow, Deliver Food To People In Need

Volunteers are needed to deliver food, answer the South Shore Blizzard Dig-Out hotline and to coordinate snow shoveling.

Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Snowed In? Here’s How To Get Shoveling Help In Chicago

Neighborhood groups and aldermanic offices are pledging to shovel snow for residents in need.

Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Chicagoans Raise $64,750 To Save Cielito Lindo Mariachi Family From Eviction: ‘It Still Feels Surreal’

"To know that there are lots and lots of people out there that are so generous ... that gives you hope that you really can get through this year."

Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Chicago Moms Have Baked 1,700 Lasagnas For Those In Need Since October — And They’re Not Slowing Down

The all-volunteer run program was founded by a California mom in May and has since spread to over 1,000 cities. The nonprofit abides by three simple principles: feed families, spread kindness and strengthen communities.

Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

This West Sider Is Getting Hotel Rooms For People Who Are Homeless During Brutal Cold Snap. You Can Help Him Save Lives

So far, Jermaine Jordan has rented 38 rooms to shelter those with nowhere to go. His team is also checking on encampments across the city and getting people with hypothermia to hospitals.

Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

After Nearly A Year Of Providing Food To Families, Gage Park Mercadito Organizers Say Need Remains: ‘This Is Not Just A COVID Problem’

The Gage Park Latinx Council gave away 3,000 pounds of food within 15 minutes on its first day — and people kept showing up. “I think that speaks volumes to the level of food insecurity our community is seeing."

Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Avondale Restaurant Giving Meals To People In Need 4 Days A Week, Using Pay-What-You-Can Approach To Keep It Going

The husband-and-wife team behind Wherewithall has taken a cue from Bridgeport's Kimski and converted the restaurant into a community kitchen.

Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

This Restaurant Owner Is Buying Out Tamale Vendors To Get Them Out Of The Cold — And Giving Away Food To Those In Need

The work is funded by West Town Feeds, a fund started by neighbors who wanted to help those struggling to get food during the pandemic. "There are no qualifications. If you feel like you're in need, reach out. We got you."

Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Pilsen Food Pantry Adds Free Shuttle Service To Reach Isolated Families On Near West Side

The Figueroa Wu Family Foundation launched the free shuttle service from ABLA homes and Barbara Jean Wright Court twice a week with help from Reggies and Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez.

Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Chicago Is Experiencing The Biggest Hunger Crisis In Decades Because Of Coronavirus — And The Recovery Could Take Years

Hundreds of people lined up for a Christmas meal Tuesday in Little Village, one of the neighborhoods hardest hit by coronavirus. Local food pantries are their lifeline: "It's a big help."

Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards
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