There have been some glimmers of hope over the past few weeks (the arrival of a vaccine, the return of holiday traditions), but 2020 has taken its toll on Chicagoans, just as it has the rest of the world. The pandemic has decimated entire industries, leaving many people out of work and in precarious financial situations, while also piling additional hardships on those that were already in need. Even with vaccines on the way, folks are in need of assistance to get through the coming months.
December is traditionally a time of giving as it marks the end of the tax year, but being altruistic shouldn't be dependent on a tax write-off. Making a donation is a simple way to help make the city a better place (though you shouldn't stop there). And even if you don't have funds to donate, many organizations are collecting goods or looking for volunteers—get in touch if you're interested in alternative ways to help out.
While Chicago is filled with countless organizations, collectives and nonprofits that do amazing work in their respective communities, we've assembled a list that focuses on those providing aid to individuals who have been affected by the ongoing pandemic. You'll find links to donate to each organization below, along with a short description of the work they do. Read on and give if you're able.
In response to the pandemic, this arts nonprofit based on the city's South and West Sides has opened free community markets in Austin, Greater Grand Crossing and Englewood.
Accepting donations of food, supplies and money (via a GoFundMe campaign), this community organization helps Avondale residents whose livelihoods have been affected by the ongoing pandemic.
This rapidly growing Black- and trans-led LGBTQ+ community center provides resources and services for individuals on Chicago's South and West Sides.
A group of Bronzeville neighbors and friends that volunteer their time to provide support and obtain supplies for anyone who needs help in their community.
A collaboration between the Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago, this fund has supported community organizations helping Chicagoans during the current crisis.
Based in a tent outside of Cook County Jail, this volunteer organization provides supplies and support to those recently released from custody.
Run by the Southern Smoke Foundation, this fund assists restaurant, bar and coffee shop workers whose wages or employment has been impacted by COVID.
This website hosts a LONG list of fundraisers set up to support the staff at various Chicago restaurants, bars, venues and stores.
This new fund organized by the Chicago Independent Venue League will provide grants to all music industry professionals who work in Chicago venues, including staff and musicians.
Serving complementary box lunches six days a week from the kitchens at Kimski and Wherewithall, this project feeds anyone who is hungry—no questions asked.
Serving Bridgeport, Canaryville, Armour Square and Chinatown, this local group banded together to collect supplies and funds for their neighbors in need.
Working with more than 700 food pantries, shelters and other organizations, the Chicago Food Depository helps provide more than 170,000 meals every day.
Founders Lucía Angel and Jorge Saldarriaga collect and distribute food and supplies to underserved neighborhoods throughout Chicago.
Jermaine Jordan cooks out of a restaurant in West Garfield Park, serving free, healthy meals to hungry members of his community.
This Englewood organization has been supporting families for years, providing access to food and tutoring for students alongside community programming.
One of Chicago's largest and oldest food pantries, this organization gets food to those in need through markets and home delivery.
Helping folks in Lincoln Square and Ravenswood, this community organization focuses on helping residents who have experienced economic hardship, health problems and other issues.
From picking up prescription drugs for the elderly to providing food for the hungry, this group of neighbors attends to the immediate essential needs of the Logan Square community.
A Chicago-based network of public fridges decorated by local artists that anyone can stock, providing food to those in need.
McKinley Park's mutual aid network connects resources with folks who need them, taking contributions of supplies, money and services.
Seniors and individuals with disabilities are particularly at risk right now, which makes the food and companionship that Meals on Wheels provides more important than ever.
Founded by Jahmal Cole, this local organization helps underprivileged youth explore neighborhoods throughout Chicago and learn about career opportunities.
Operating a food pantry, providing masks and distributing free clothing, this collective operates a range of projects within the Pilsen community.
Upset with how their community is often portrayed, this group of Englewood residents fight against stereotypes and work toward positive change.
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