Looking to Make A Difference during the Holidays?  Find Out How You Can Help Here!

Looking to Make A Difference during the Holidays? Find Out How You Can Help Here!

‘Tis the season when many of our nonprofit partners are looking for a little extra help. Take a look at our Directory of Holiday Opportunities here — and make sure you visit this page often, as we will be adding new opportunities throughout the holiday season. You can also peruse our Directory of Nonprofits and reach out to them directly to see if they need volunteers.



Cancer patients and their families have a lot on their plate, especially during the holidays —  but it’s not always food. This holiday season, through Culinary Care, you can fill their plates with hope, joy and critical nourishment when you give them access to one free meal — or a full year of meals.


New Trier Township


Caring Neighbors
Provide holiday gifts to NT Township resident families facing financial hardship.

Food Gift Cards
Provide hope and holiday cheer to NT Township Food Pantry clients by providing food gift cards that allow them to purchase their favorite holiday treats and enjoy a special holiday meal.

Organize a Food Drive for the NTT Food Pantry
This is a fun project for your friends, family, school or community group.  Help the Food Pantry stock up at a time of year when the need is greater than usual, because children are home from school, and their regular donor base is on vacation.

For more information, and to find out how you can participate, click here.


Request and Fulfill a Wish List for an at-risk youth
Organize a Gift Drive for your church,

Help Commemorate the 22nd ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11.  Celebrate Local Heroes During Our Annual 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.

Help Commemorate the 22nd ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11. Celebrate Local Heroes During Our Annual 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.

Winnetka Fire Department
Honoring Firefighters on 9/11 Day of Remembrance

Monday, September 11, 2023

The Volunteer Center’s Annual DAY OF SERVICE AND REMEMBRANCE is a terrific opportunity to say “thank you” to the local heroes we count on every day — and to commemorate the heroes of 9/11.

Calling all grateful individuals, families, friends, service organizations and community groups
to express their gratitude to local police, firefighters and emergency personnel by dropping by with

Cards or letters 
Children’s artwork depicting their heroism
PURCHASED bakery goods
Other expressions of personal gratitude 

No need to RSVP, just visit your local fire/police stations and say thank you

Let us know you participated. Send an email and photos to info@VolunteerCenterHelps.org

This project is sponsored annually by the Volunteer Center: www.volunteercenterhelps.org
volunteer center logo







Register Now for our November 7th Nonprofit Workshop “Grow: How Organizations Can Use META to Build Communities, Raise Awareness and Fundraise”
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Register Now for our November 7th Nonprofit Workshop “Grow: How Organizations Can Use META to Build Communities, Raise Awareness and Fundraise”

Mack Reynolds

The Volunteer Center invites all Nonprofit Executive Directors, Communications Managers and Development Chairs to a results-based workshop addressing all of your questions about social media and Meta

Lead by global brand professional Mack Reynolds, we’ll be exploring questions like “How can I build an active online community?”, “How can social media help me raise money?” “How can I find and work with social media creators and influencers to build my following?”  “What exactly is Meta, and why do I care?”

Monday, November 7th
11:30 AM
Clarkson Lodge at Clarkson Park
1950 New Willow Road, Northfield
Box Lunch Included

Whether you’re already doing it — or don’t really understand why Meta matters to you — you’ll come away with hands-on strategies that will give you the tools and confidence you need to take maximum advantage of this business-building social media platform.    This is a can’t miss opportunity for all nonprofit leaders who are looking to unlock the mystery of Meta!

Presenter Mack Reynolds leads team building strategies to help businesses, nonprofits and organizations of all sizes tap into their true creative potential across Meta’s platforms.  He has been helping brands tell breakthrough stories for 15+ years.  Before Meta he was at agencies in Texas and Chicago.  Mack is a Winnetka native, and current residents of Northfield with his wife and three kids.

Please Click Here to Register

If you have questions, please email the Volunteer Center at info@volunteercenterhelps.org

Drop Off at Make A Difference Day — Then Drop by the Fall Fest Community Wellness Fair!

Drop Off at Make A Difference Day — Then Drop by the Fall Fest Community Wellness Fair!

This Saturday, October 22nd, after you drop off your donations at Make A Difference Day, make sure you drop by the Fall Fest Community Wellness Fair, co-sponsored by VC partners North Shore Senior Center and New Trier Township.  Make A Difference Day starts at 9am, which leaves plenty of time to treat yourself to a little personal wellness time  at NSSC in Northfield from 10am-1pm.   At this free, all-ages interactive wellness event you can get your flu shot, check your blood pressure, enjoy a chair massage — and entertain your kids with hands on attractions including the always popular Touch-a-Fire Truck.

Fall Fest Wellness Fair
The Volunteer Center Invites Nonprofits to a FREE Training Program: “The Basics of Board Governance” on June 15th
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The Volunteer Center Invites Nonprofits to a FREE Training Program: “The Basics of Board Governance” on June 15th


Program Agenda

  • Objectives of the Governing Board
  • Fiduciary & Legal Responsibilities of the Board
  • The Pillars of Good Governance
    • Legal Compliance and Public Disclosure
    • Effective Governance
    • Strong Financial Oversight
    • Responsible Fundraising

Nancy’s Profile

25+ Years of Experience

Nancy has more than 25 years of experience as a Certified Public Accountant. Prior to starting her own firm, Nancy worked for many years as a consultant with a “Big Four” CPA firm. During her tenure she gained experience in both audit and tax departments of the firm’s Austin, Texas and Chicago, Illinois offices. Nancy also worked in a managerial capacity for a local and then a regional CPA firm serving Chicagoland. In February, 2008, Nancy organized a new kind of accounting firm, Nancy L. Gonsiorek, CPA, LLC, intent to serve nonprofit organizations. The firm currently serves nonprofit clients in Northeastern Illinois.

Nonprofit Specialty

Nancy has served nonprofit organizations of various sizes throughout her career, providing audit and other attest services, information return (form 990) preparation, and other business advisory services.  The Firm practice is exclusive nonprofit organizations, currently serving approximately 60 organizations.  The Firm library is well-equipped with nonprofit accounting and policy manuals and other specialized nonprofit practice aids to provide clients with exceptional business resources.  Nancy has written a monthly column on nonprofit governance for a regional newspaper and serves on the Not-for-Profit Organizations Committee of the Illinois CPA Society, providing support to CPAs and nonprofit leaders throughout the state of Illinois.  In 2018, The Illinois CPA Society Board of Directors presented Nancy with the Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contributions to the Committee.

About Nancy

Nancy has resided in Crystal Lake for the past 25 years, along with her husband, John, where they raised their two children. Nancy is an avid community volunteer, having served two terms on the …

Volunteers Needed for Community Shredding Event Saturday May 7th.  Bring Your Documents Too!

Volunteers Needed for Community Shredding Event Saturday May 7th. Bring Your Documents Too!

The Volunteer Center is joining with New Trier Township and Regina Dominican High School to sponsor a free community-wide document shredding and disposal event.

We need volunteers!

WHEN:    Saturday, May 7th from 8:30am-11:30am (or until we fill the truck)

WHERE: In the parking lot of Regina Dominican High School, at 701 Locust Road in Wilmette.


This contactless, drive-through event is a great opportunity to protect your financial privacy and prevent identity theft by destroying financial and other private documents before you dispose of them.  Please note there is a limit of 2 bags or boxes per person

We are looking for volunteers to help unload documents from donor’s cars and load them into the shredding truck, and to help with cleanup.

To volunteer, or for more information, email Barb Tubekis at info@volunteercenterhelps.org

The Volunteer Center and James Martin Associates Host Earth Day Service Event April 23rd


Join us for Special Restoration Projects in Honor of National Earth Day

When is the Earth Day event?
Saturday, April 23rd, from 9:00 -11:00am (an additional shift from 11:00 – 1:00pm may be added if there is a large overflow response) 

Where is it?
Harbert-Payne Woods in Evanston on the North Shore Channel.

Who is invited?
Families, individuals and service groups of all ages are invited to participate in this year’s Earth Day projects. There are no strict age limits. However, youth under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and younger children would need to be closely supervised.  

Volunteers should wear long pants and close-toed shoes and, keep in mind that generally clothes can get very dirty.  If possible, participants should bring their own work gloves, shovels and trowels.

What will we be doing?
Volunteers will be helping maintain and restore native habitat for birds and pollinators:

  • plant trees, shrubs, and forms that need planting
  • reinforce sections of the paths with wood chips
  • line the path with logs from trees that have fallen in the woods
  • remove invasive ground cover (principally, creeping Charlie)
  • potentially digging a trench for watering purposes.

Those interested need to reserve space in advance. Simply email info@volunteercenterhelps.org and Identify your group and let us know how many volunteers will be attending. We will then email the exact location to meet at the Park and provide a link to the waiver that needs to be signed for the City of Evanston as protocol. 

Questions?  E-mail info@volunteercenterhelps.org


This Year’s Recognition Event Featured an Inspiring Group of Volunteers Who Are Making a Difference in Our community

This Year’s Recognition Event Featured an Inspiring Group of Volunteers Who Are Making a Difference in Our community

2 Years Later We’re FINALLY LIVE!

Location: The Historic Wilmette Theater
1122 Central Avenue, Wilmette

More Detail About Our Honorees

Kate and Neal Shapiro

Kate and Neal Shapiro
Community Support

Kate and Neal Shapiro purchased a laundromat in the Belmont-Cragin area of Chicago as a project to enable their adult son with disabilities an opportunity to have meaningful employment. They enhanced it to provide an interactive educational and community center where children can have an enriching read, learn, play experience. They have given away nearly a thousand books and provided many other activities and valuable supportive contributions to this community.

Nick Drivas

Nick Drivas
Philanthropic Restaurateur

Nick Drivas, owner of the successful Grill House restaurant in Northbrook. Drivas is a generous supporter of local causes and organizations in need. He provided food for first responders and hospital workers during the pandemic, as well as provide 1,000 meals to children who would normally receive free lunches at school. He also hosts “Dine and Donate” programs, in which he donates a portion of a given day’s sales to local organizations. His support doesn’t end there!

Pickles Group Youth
Pickles Group Youth
Pickles Group Founders
Pickles Group Founders

The Pickles Group

Pickles Group’s mission is to provide free peer-to-peer support and resources to kids affected by their parent or guardian’s cancer. Pickles’ kids develop resilience, have fun with friends who get them, and heal along the way.

Kerry Brown Hasbrook, Clara Nowkenkwo, Mandy Breaker
Radical Generosity

Radical Generosity Chicago (RGC) provides necessary donations of food and essential household items to thousands of families living in low-income, food and housing unstable communities in Chicago and its near north suburbs. The RGC team engages and mobilizes families, schools, local civic groups and businesses of volunteers nationwide to donate and distribute the critical support in those communities.

To receive a digital copy of our video of the event please

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


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


  • 4 yards of fleece — that’s it!



KINDNESS ROCKS dedicated to our very hardworking healthcare workers.


  • 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 — …