Oh hey again! Even though I had a different post about Valentine’s Day scheduled for today, I’ve been distracted all morning and I realized I need to double down. If you’ve been watching the news, you know that the polar vortex in Chicago is NO JOKE. It is currently 5 degrees outside, but feels like -13… and that is NOTHING compared to what’s coming tomorrow.
According to The Weather Channel, the high for tomorrow is -12 degrees with wind chills ranging from 30-55 below 0. Not only that, but forecasters are expecting Wednesday night to dip as low as -23. Needless to say, these temperatures are dangerously cold, with frostbite a possibility within minutes.
Even though this is an extreme case, most of us that live in Chicago know that this comes with the territory. That being said, I cannot get my mind off of those less fortunate than I am. What about the homeless? Or the people who can’t afford their heat? Or the stray animals? These are the moments when I realize just how incredibly lucky I am for the life that I live… and it’s time to pay it forward.
How To Help
I’ve spent a lot of the morning researching organizations that accept donations, both in person and online. I don’t have a car here in the city, so monetary donations make the most sense for me – but there are a few options for those who would rather drop off canned goods, blankets, or other necessities.
They have opened 62 park field houses as warming centers across the city. I can’t find any way to donate to this particular program online, but here is the list of all of the locations. If one is located near you, it might be worth swinging by to see if they will accept blankets and food on site!
Franciscan Outreach shelters offer a warm bed and hot meal to more than 330 people every night. You donation also helps them provide hot meals, extended hours, clean clothes, hot showers, and more.
If you live in the neighborhood, you can donate food, household items, or even CTA cards. If you aren’t local, you can also make a financial donation to their cause!
I just found out about this organization today and it’s the sweetest. Little Brothers volunteers check on the elderly to make sure they’re okay and offer “Winter Food Bags.” Obviously this means a lot all winter long, but it’s especially important this week.
This non-profit organization offers free coats to those in need. You can either host a coat drive, donate a coat, or make a monetary donation (every $5 warms 10 people!).
PAWS does important work year round, but it feels even more urgent this time of year. Help them get more cats and dogs out of the cold.
When you contribute to their Share the Warmth program, Peoples Gas matches your donation to help those who are having trouble paying their gas bill.
Sarah’s Circle is an incredible organization that helps women who are homeless or in need of a safe space. Your donations help them provide food, rent support, case management, and social services to women in need.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository works with over 700 agencies and programs including pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters to distribute food where it’s needed most throughout Cook County.
Did I miss any additional ways to help?
Let me know in the comments!