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Volunteers of All Ages Honor Dr. Martin Luther King With Remote Service Projects

Thanks to Our Amazing Volunteer Community for Supporting This Year’s Remote MLK Day of Service

The pandemic did nothing to dampen our loyal volunteers’ enthusiasm for serving those need.  Hundreds of volunteers picked up project kits, took them home to complete them, and returned them to be delivered to local nonprofits and their clients clients who needed a little winter cheer.

SPECIAL THANKS TO THE CHALET, THE WINNETKA COMMUNITY NURSERY SCHOOL, THE COMMUNITY HOUSE — AND OUR INCREDIBLE VOLUNTEER COMMUNITY — FOR THEIR GENEROUS SUPPORT.

If You’re Looking for At-Home Volunteer Projects: Ideas and Instructions

Materials:  Most of these projects use materials you can find in your home, or are not difficult to purchase. Feel free to be creative with any supplies you have. However, please do not use any glitter in your projects – they are dangerous inhalants for those in the hospital or those with breathing issues, and a MESS to clean up.

Completed Projects: We have provided some ideas of the kind of nonprofits who would LOVE to receive your thoughtful volunteer projects.   Please feel free to choose an organization you already support, or search our database to find a nonprofit that would be happy to receive your donations.  You’ll find our searchable database on our homepage.

 

NO-SEW BLANKETS For the homeless

Materials:

  • 4 yards of fleece — that’s it!

COMPLETE INSTRUCTIONS CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE: Download No-Sew Blanket Instructions Here

 

KINDNESS ROCKS dedicated to our very hardworking healthcare workers.

Materials:

  • Smooth, flat (river rocks) – any size – best are rocks a minimum of 3”. You can buy them at craft stores or online OR if you have any paintable small rocks at home.
  • Permanent Markers, paint markers or acrylic paint and brush.

Messages should relate to healthcare workers. When you are finished, find …

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Recycle Your Goods for Good at This Year’s Make A Difference Day on Saturday, October 23rd

Now is your chance to clean out your closets to help nonprofits who serve people in need in our local community.  Make A Difference Day is one of the North Shore’s premiere days of service that is a perfect opportunity to join with your family, friends, school and community group to recycle your gently-used goods to benefit nonprofits who need them.  Please sort, bag & label your items then drop them off at the Indian Hill Train station in Winnetka (111 Green Bay Road) on Saturday, October 23rd from 9-12.  See you there!

 

Please Sort, Bag & Label Your Items for Each Organization Below Before You Donate

Books4Cause — Gently used books, all genres, including textbooks, CDs, DVDs and vinyl

Connections for the Homeless — Disposable NEW men’s razors, men’s coats and warm outerwear (boots, gloves, etc.), duffels, backpacks and rolling suitcases

Counseling Center of the N.S. — Women’s clothing and coats, & men’s clothing (Connections for the Homeless is collecting men’s coats)

Gears 4 Goals — Sports equipment – no golf, hockey or ski equipment

Glass Slipper Project — Jewelry and dressy purses

Hadley Institute for the Blind — Eyeglasses and cases

Infant Welfare Society — Baby diapers (any size), wipes and formula (any kind)

Junior League of  Evanston/North Shore — Casual Purses, formal dresses, warm outerwear (no men’s), household items and
      NEW travel-sized or small toiletries:

  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Soap/Body Wash
  • Dental Floss
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Deodorant

Lawrence Hall  Educational games and puzzles

Madonna MissionNEW School Supplies:

  • Erasers
  • Pencil Sharpeners
  • #2 Pencils
  • Index Cards
  • Notebooks
  • Composition Books
  • Highlighters
  • Ballpoint Pens
  • Glue Sticks
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Individual Tissue Packs

Northfield Food Pantry — Non-perishable food, household cleaning supplies and paper goods

Northwestern University Settlement House — Baby, toddler and children’s clothing, coats and shoes

Orphans of the Storm — …

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More Ways for All Ages to Learn and Serve on MLK DAY

Additional Opportunities to Learn and Serve on MLK Day

Although we will not be hosting our MLK Day of Service in person this year, we would like to provide volunteers meaningful ways to honor the extraordinary legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We have some suggestions for individuals or families to engage in productive activities to help advance social justice in this unsettling year of racial strife. We are inviting volunteers to make the no-sew blankets that have been a part of our MLK Day of Service since we began in 2005. See below for project details and drop-off requirements.

Also listed on this page are additional educational and impactful service resources for people of all ages and interest levels.

 

No-Sew Blanket Project Details

I. Make your blanket(s) in your own home, then drop them off at the Community House either on MLK Day or the following Saturday. We will deliver them to local nonprofits that support at-risk and homeless communities.

II. Drop off your completed blanket(s) at the Community House on MLK Day, Monday, January 18th or January 23rd between 10am and 1pm only on both those days. The VC board members will be collecting the blankets at the Community House in Winnetka in the Pine Street Parking lot entrance with the large awning.

III. You may purchase your own four yards of fabric at a local fabric store, or buy one of the Volunteer Center’s limited supply of 36 blanket sets (includes four yards of fleece fabric) we have available for $20 each.

  • NOTE: If you are interested in buying one or more of our 36 blanket sets, email the Volunteer Center at info@volunteercenterhelps.org for information about how to reserve your blanket sets and when and where to pick them up. The blankets are on
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THE LEGACY OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING LIVES ON, IN SPITE OF THE PANDEMIC

Although we couldn’t all be together in person for our 17th MLK Day, we were joined in spirit.  The variety of participants in the HEROS program and our annual no-sew blanket project provided perhaps a deeper impact than usual,  as those who participated felt the spirit of community combined with a shared goal of equity.

In partnership with HEROS (Healing Everyday Racism in the Schools), The Volunteer Center invited the community to participate in HEROS’ very enligtening MLK LEGACY Workshop that focused on Dr. King’s 1965 speech in Winnetka and the concrete steps we can take locally to create Dr. King’s “Beloved Community”. Over 200 people from the township and the surrounding North Shore area participated. It was very well received and provided additional ways to be active following the event. More details on this event, and ways you can work for social justice year-round, can be found here on the HEROS website.

 

MLK “WEEK” No-Sew Blanket Program

 
As service has always been a hallmark of MLK Day, the VC also invited volunteers from the community to participate in its signature DIY fleece blanket donation program for homeless shelters and refugees. Instead of working side by side, families made their blankets independently for MLK “Week”.  This year’s MLK Day remote DIY blanket program will provide over 50 blankets to Connections for the Homeless, The Night Ministry and Refugee One — with a special shout out to North Shore Country Day School for involving their parents. 

We were also touched to receive a blanket from the Chiaravalle Montesorri School in Evanston’s Pan African and Caribbean Affinity group (P.A.C.). by 1st and 2nd grade class members. The P.A.C. is a group dedicated to listening, highlighting, and empowering black and brown voices within our rich and growing community.

 

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Our Biggest Make A Difference Day Ever!

A Generous Community Cleaned  Its Closets to Benefit People and Animals in Need

Make A Difference Day is one of the North Shore’s favorite opportunities to lend a hand to local nonprofits serving people in need.  Even with the challenges of the pandemic, this year was no exception.  With support from our dedicated volunteer partners from Highcrest Middle School — and this year’s host Wilmette Junior High School — we were able to send our nonprofit partners away with cars and trucks bursting at the seams with valuable donations.    And our guest dog from Orphans of the Storm even found a home!  Many thanks to all who helped make this such an inspiring event.

Participating Nonprofits and Items Collected

Books4Cause —  Gently used books, all genres, including textbooks, CDs, DVDs and vinyl

Childcare Network of Evanston —  Infant Baby diapers, size newborn to 6. Baby wipes and pull-ups, especially 3T-4T boys and girls. Formula – Regular, Gentle Ease and Similac

Connections for the Homeless  — Men’s casual winter clothing and coats, hoodies and sweatshirts;  duffels, sleeping bags, suitcases

Counseling Center for the North Shore  —  Women’s clothing and coats

Gear 4 Goals —  Sports equipment

Glass Slipper Project  — Women’s jewelry and formal/dressy purses

Hadley Institute for the Blind and the Visually Impaired — Eyeglasses & Cases

Junior League of Evanston/North Shore  —  Casual purses, travel-sized toiletries

New Trier Township Food Pantry  — Non-perishable Food, paper goods, laundry detergent

Northwestern Settlement — Baby, toddler and children’s clothing, coats and shoes

Orphans of the Storm  —  Pet supplies, food, newspapers, pets to adopt!

Refugee One  — Winter boots for all ages and genders

Woman’s Club of Evanston  — Prom dresses and dress shoes

Working Bikes  — Adult bikes in repairable condition and gently-used kid’s bikes

YMCA of Metro Chicago  —  Toys, …

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Kids Against Hunger 2019 Exceeds Goal, Producing 100,440 Meals for the Hungry


2019 Kids Against Hunger Another Successful Event

On Saturday, March 16, hundreds of people came together to package an additional 440 meals over the planned 100,000 nutritious meals at this year’s Kids Against Hunger event in Winnetka. Volunteers filled bags with nutritious ingredients, then helped prepare to ship them to hungry families in Nicaragua, many of whom count on this as their only meal of the day.

This is always a fun and meaningful service project for families, individuals, and faith-based or school groups of all ages and abilities.

The Volunteer Center has proudly partnered with The Rotary Club of Winnetka-Northfield and The Winnetka Community House to put this event on for 8 years. Volunteers from all over the North Shore and Metro Chicago participate annually.

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Thanks to Everyone in the Community Who Turned Out to Support Our 2018 MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY on Saturday, October 27th!

Hundreds cleaned out their closets to benefit some outstanding nonprofits at this year’s Make A Difference Day, sponsored by the Volunteer Center.

Make a Difference Day is always a fun and meaningful day of service that mobilizes our local community to do something good for the organizations who work year-round to do good for so many.  This year was no exception.  It was a great opportunity for individuals, families, neighborhoods, schools and community groups to work together to make a difference.

Cars lined up to deliver over 25,000 donations, ranging from children’s clothes to sporting goods to household items — even prom dresses and eyeglasses.  An army of volunteers sorted and packed donations into the waiting vehicles of the grateful nonprofits.  Everyone went home feeling the Spirit of Giving alive and well in our community.

Mark your calendar NOW for Make A Difference Day 2019 — Saturday October 26, 2019 — always the 4th Saturday in October.  We’ll see you there!

2018 Make A Difference Day Participating Nonprofits

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Make A Difference Day 2017

 

Want to find out more about Make A Difference Day — or The Volunteer Center?  Email info@volunteercenterhelps.org

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