While it may be hard to believe, the holidays are quickly approaching. Aside from spending time with family and enjoying delicious food, this means it’s officially giving season! One of the hallmarks of Innovative Orthodontic Centers is our commitment to supporting the communities we serve by giving back through sponsorships, donations, volunteer work, and a variety of other community service initiatives. From being a Naperville 203 job shadow host to filling 100 backpacks with supplies for Chicago youth experiencing homelessness at Covenant House, we love finding ways to help others wherever we can. With this year being particularly tough for many people, supporting the community is more important than ever, which is why we’ve rounded up 7 ways to give back in Chicagoland this holiday season.
Donate Non-Perishable Food Items or Volunteer at Loaves & Fishes Community Services
One of our favorite Naperville charities, Loaves & Fishes Community Services provides food and support to families in need. You can help by donating non-perishable food items to the organization to feed those less fortunate. Check out their list of most-needed items and drop them off during their drop-off hours. Loaves & Fishes also has Naperville volunteer opportunities, however, the number of daily volunteers has been reduced to maintain safe social distancing. Take a look at the organization’s current Naperville volunteer opportunities to see the openings.
Help 360 Youth Services by Starting Treatment With Us by December 3 or by Donating Needed Items
Another of the Naperville charities we support is 360 Youth Services. We’re donating $25 to the organization on behalf of each new patient that starts orthodontic treatment with us from now until Giving Tuesday on December 3. 360 Youth Services offers substance use prevention education, counseling and housing to Naperville youth and families in need.
Already a patient? Well, you can still help! The residents of the transitional housing program need supplies to aid them in transitioning from homelessness to independence. The organization has Amazon and Target shopping lists with everyday essentials. You can purchase an item off one of the wishlists and it will be shipped directly to 360 Youth Services.
The organization also has urgent needs due to the pandemic. You can either donate money to help off-set COVID-19 emergency expenses or donate supplies like disinfecting wipes and sprays, paper towels and toilet paper, disposable medical masks and gloves, and thermometers and covers. Contact Sarah Tesch at 630-961-2992 ext. 1127 and leave a message or email at [email protected] to arrange deliveries.
Participate in Sleep Out: Chicago to Benefit Covenant House Illinois
As we mentioned earlier, Covenant House Illinois is a local charity we support. Covenant House is truly one of the best nonprofits in Chicago. The organization provides safety and shelter to youth in the city who are experiencing homelessness. You can donate any time. Or, you can help raise funds by participating in Sleep Out: Chicago. You’ll join people across the Chicago area and spend one night outside virtually, either from your home or another location, on Thursday, November 19 to raise money and awareness for young people experiencing homelessness.
Participants will need to register to sleep outside and set up a personal page to solicit donations from friends and family to reach their fundraising goals. During the event, you can tune in virtually to a livestream of inspiring stories, accounts from front-line staff and feedback from fellow sleepers. Or, for a minimum donation of $10, you can support the Virtual Candlelight Vigil, which will be a part of the Sleep Out event.
Take Part in the Little Friends Holiday Giving Tree Program
Little Friends is a Naperville nonprofit organization that provides services to people with autism and other developmental disabilities. Every year, Innovative Orthodontic Centers sponsors the group’s Giving Tree and you can be part of it too! You can stop by local community partners like Aurelio’s Pizza, Casey’s Foods, Clark’s Car Care, North Star Credit Union, Oswald’s Pharmacy or the Zazu Exchange starting in mid-November to pick up a tag off of a tree. The tag will have a gift request from one of the individuals that Little Friends serves. Purchase the gift, wrap it and drop it off at the original location where you got the tag. Little Friend will then distribute all of the donated gifts in time for the holidays. You can also participate virtually by selecting a gift from the organization’s Amazon wishlist, which will then be wrapped and delivered to their offices.
Support SamaraCare Counseling
SamaraCare Counseling, an organization that offers mental health counseling and psychological testing to individuals, families and couples, regardless of their ability to pay, is among the Naperville charities that depend on their annual fundraising events to support their initiatives. In fact, we sponsor their Silent Samaritans Breakfast each year. Unfortunately, their fundraising events were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, they’ve had to switch to virtual counseling, which has created more expenses. You can purchase a ticket to next year’s Silent Samaritan Breakfast or you can donate now to allow them to continue to provide fee-subsidized services to people with limited financial resources.
Volunteer at the Greater Chicago Food Depository
If you’re looking for Chicago volunteer opportunities, look no further than the Greater Chicago Food Depository, because they’re in urgent need of volunteers to pack food in their warehouse for their COVID-19 response. Record numbers of people have been turning to the organization’s food pantries and soup kitchens and by volunteering, you can help ensure your neighbors who are impacted by the pandemic are able to get nutritious food to eat. The Chicago food bank is taking all necessary COVID-19 precautions to keep volunteers safe. Register to volunteer here. If you’re not able to volunteer in any community service, you can also donate to help meet the increased need, especially during the holiday season.
Okay, so this might not be the first thing to come to mind when you’re thinking about Chicago community service volunteer opportunities for the holiday season but the pandemic has caused a huge reduction in the nation’s blood supply. Patients at the University of Chicago Medicine are in need of blood and platelet donations. If you meet the criteria, schedule a blood donation appointment at the UChicago Blood Donation Center at Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine by calling 773-702-6247. The Center is taking all necessary COVID-19 precautions to ensure donating is safe.
We hope our ideas for ways for the community service in Chicago and the surrounding area are helpful. Together, we can make a difference this holiday season and beyond. If you’re ready to learn more about Shorewood or Naperville Invisalign or braces treatment, schedule a complimentary consultation at Innovative Orthodontic Centers. Remember, when you start treatment any time through December 3, we’ll donate $25 on your behalf to 360 Youth Services. Now, that’s something you can smile about!