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.


Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s remote MLK activities.  Looking forward to seeing you all — in person — next year!

January 8, 2021

Happy Holidays — and Happy Volunteering — from The Volunteer Center

We’ll post holiday volunteer opportunities as we receive them, so check back regularly.  In the meantime, you can also peruse our listing of nonprofits and contact them directly
to see if they need volunteers.


Holiday Baking Volunteers Needed

Do you enjoy baking, singing holiday songs and spreading cheer? We are looking for volunteers to sign up to support Lambs Farm Bakery & Country Store during our busy holiday season. We need help at the Bakery making delicious treats which helps provide income and meaningful employment for the farm’s residents that includes people of all abilities. Tasks that you may help with are: baking, packing, chocolate-making, labeling, cookies, bread, truffles, dog biscuits, muffins, granola, jams…it is our busy time of year so anything goes!

When:  November through December, Monday – Saturday

Where:   Lambs Farm Bakery and Country Store production areas

Available Shifts:  9:00 am – 12 Noon, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Contact:  Angela Ramert, email


Holiday Gift Program and Food Pantry Donations Needed

The New Trier township is collecting donations for their Holiday gift Program and the Food Pantry.

For details visit their website here.


December 15, 2020

Suggestions to Safely Help Others During the Coronavirus Pandemic


To our generous volunteers:

The current Coronavirus Pandemic is challenging us to protect our own health which also keeps others well. As a result, it has also brought us a new formula for social norms which require distance and isolation from family and friends — and make traditional ways of volunteering and human connection particularly challenging.   As usual, compassionate volunteers are eager to support the frontlines as much as they can. But we will get through this together!



Important Universal Ways to Help All Nonprofits

Quick and (Somewhat) Easy Suggestions to Help 



Please support our nonprofit partners –There are many ways volunteers can continue to safely provide help and support

The Volunteer Center of N.E. Metro Chicago contacted its nonprofit partners (featured on this website) to see if they needed any support from volunteers to help them continue their unique missions. You may find additional information about each of these nonprofits by visiting this page on our website. Whether it is financial support, food or clothing donations, meal deliveries or safe social and educational connections, below is what we have heard so far. Please contact us – if you are aware of additional needs and nonprofits that could use volunteer help and other important assistance. We will continue to update this Guide as new needs are posted.




URGENT NEED ASAP!  Great project to share with your family, friends and service groups. The Volunteer Center is responding to a volunteer who lives on the North Shore who has many family members working in the ER and on the front lines in hospitals and other medical facilities who still are in urgent need of additional PPE equipment – specifically masks and surgical caps. They are eager to receive purchased or DIY fashioned coverings for multiple uses. The Volunteer Center is helping her enlist volunteers to make the equipment. There is a minimum goal of 300 masks and 150 caps. She has identified the facilities that need them and will deliver as the VC hands them off to her. If the goal is exceeded, we will deliver to additional needs.



If you have a favorite DIY pattern, use it. If not, try these:

Face Mask with Pocket from T-shirt

Easy no sew, no elastic

To make caps, DIY Easy Scrub Caps

RESOURCES for Masks to Purchase:

9 Retailer fabric masks to purchase

N95 masks for purchase – will arrive by Monday, April 27th


The Glencoe, Keilworth, Northfield, Wilmette and Winnetka Public Safety Departments have generously agreed to serve as drop-off facilities for your PPE donations.

Glencoe: drop off box inside their Public Safety vestibule located at 325 Hazel Avenue in Glencoe

Kenilworth: 419 Richmond, Kenilworth Police Station vestibule

Northfield: 1800 Winnetka Road, Northfield in front of the Fire station under the canopy by the US flag drop off box.

Wilmette: Wilmette Police Dept, 710 Ridge Road.

Winnetka: drop off box inside their vestibule located at 410 Green Bay Road in Winnetka

ALONE.TOGETHER. Let’s Make a Difference and Get This Done! More details –


Lawrence Hall

NEW Group Service Project Opportunity. The Lawrence Hall youth and families of our DCFS, Foster Care, Transitional Living and residential youth are in need of some supplies and items. We would love if some volunteers can assemble care packages for them. We ask that all care packages MUST be pre-made/prepackaged before drop off. All drop offs MUST be scheduled and set for a specific date and time. Some of the care packages are broken down below:

Transitional/Independent Living 
• Extra cleaning supplies, soap and food for TLP youth

• Games, books, headphones, and food for community youth

Hygiene bags and Food bags  Hygiene Bags ▪ Toothbrush/Toothpaste ▪ Deodorant ▪ Carmex/ChapStick ▪ Kleenex ▪ Soap ▪ Hand Sanitizer ▪ 8 pr. Rubber Gloves

Food Bags  ▪ Microwave Popcorn ▪ Tuna Kit ▪ Microwavable Rice Bowl ▪ Pringles Potato Chips ▪ Fruit Cup ▪ (2) Rice Krispies Treats ▪ (1) Bowl of Cereal ▪ (6) Packages of Instant Oatmeal

Foster Care


Please contact Lawrence Hall – Monique Davis ( to coordinate a date and time to drop-off care packages in bulk! All drop offs will be at our Main Campus location.

Good News Partners

If you’re in a low risk situation, this link will take you to a form where we have several opportunities to volunteer with some of our elderly and other high-risk residents: picking up groceries or medication, helping with cleaning, or even just giving them a call a few times a week to check in and chat.

If you have stable income, this link will take you to a page where you can donate specifically to help with the cost of rent for those in our community who have been furloughed or lost their jobs because of the safety precautions enacted.  We thank you in advance for any and all ways you can help.


Lambs Farm

At Lambs Farm, we currently need PPE (personal protective equipment) supplies for our staff to use while caring for participants. If volunteers are asking how they can help, please forward this request.
Lambs Farms needs: gloves, goggles, gowns, alcohol, thermometers.
Please send supplies directly to: Lambs Farm, Attn Vicky Raier or Katie Bouwens, 14245 Rockland Road, Libertyville, IL 60048


Masks needed. If you (or anyone you know) is able to sew, here are instructions on how to sew a mask. We have the filter inserts, but we do need help sewing these masks.  If you are able to help with the masks, please let Shama Valame know by e-mailing her at  The mask can be dropped off or shipped to 1815 W. Central Rd. Arlington Heights IL. 60005. Thank you!!


Center for Enriched Living

Make a personal connection with Center for Enriched Living (CEL) members and make a real difference in their lives with CEL’s #PanPals.Many of these members have limited interaction with family members on a regular basis, and with the Coronavirus that has been compounded. With CEL’s programs transitioning to virtual, they now don’t have access to the friends and support they rely on.

Simply click and choose a member (or members) to send a letter, card or picture to and let them know you’re thinking of them. You can also support our efforts to combat social isolation and keep our members connected by donating here.  Your gifts are what allow our staff to keep working so they can deliver virtual programs for those with online access.

New Trier Township Food Pantry
793 Elm Street, Winnetka, 60093 847-446-8203

URGENT NEED! Our local New Trier Township pantry has a very diminished stock of food and paper supplies. Now more than ever, pantry users are in need of help. The pantry is eager to continue to serve these families in need. Donations of either checks or cash will help pantry staff purchase exactly what is needed. Checks should be addressed to New Trier Township Angel Fund, Inc.. Or, donate any non-perishable foods and paper goods MTW &F (closed Thursdays) between 10am and 2pm. As the township offices are on lock-down, you must call Brian Leverenz in advance 847-446-8203 and set up a drop off. Something you could also do is organize a food drive with your friends and neighbors. Leave a note at your neighbors’ giving them a specific day and time you will pick up donations and then set up with Brian Leverenz the date and time you will drop off. Terrific family project while you’re all homebound together. Plan it out!


Counseling Center of the North Shore (CCNS)
992 1/2 Green Bay Rd, Winnetka, IL 60093 (847) 446-7787

The Counseling Center of the North Shore’s clinical staff is operating remotely, proving telehealth therapy sessions via HIPAA-compliant videoconference and telephone ( However, the Winnetka Thrift Shop, the primary source of funding for CCNS, is temporarily closed. You can support CCNS in two ways: 1. Make a donation online at, and 2. Purchase Winnetka Thrift Shop items online at,, and soon the Winnetka Thrift Shop’s online store. Information at


Beacon Place
603 S. McAlister, Waukegan, IL  (847) 497-5787

We are collecting food right now to distribute to our families here in Waukegan. With the shutdown of restaurants and bars, many of our families are not going to be paid for several weeks.  We are in need of shelf stable food like canned goods, pasta, rice, beans, etc.  All donations can be dropped off at our center located at 603 S. McAlister, Waukegan, IL p.(847) 497-5787

If anyone has any questions they may call Barbara LaFasto, Co-Founder of Beacon Place (847) 609-6768.


Family Focus of Evanston
2010 Dewey Avenue, Evanston, IL, 60201 847.475.7570

IMMEDIATE NEED – Help Line of Technical Support for parents in their after school program who are struggling with e-learning – either access or knowing what to do. Looking for volunteers who could form an online help resource.

Our early childhood team and DCFS team are receiving calls from families who have lost their jobs or hours have been severely cut who are in desperate

need of diapers, formula, food. They are loading their cars with what we have on hand and making deliveries. We could use some help with the purchasing and delivering of these items. Our teams are getting worn out. Colette Allen. Director of Evanston, Family Focus – Evanston, 2010 Dewey Avenue, Evanston IL, 60201, Ph: 847.475.7570


Meals on Wheels

Currently our greatest needs are donations of hand sanitizer and financial support. Please consider a gift of either. If you are able to help with hand sanitizer please call our office (we are working remotely – calls are being forwarded to the Volunteer Coordinator at 847-316-1337 to make arrangements for drop off. If you are able to assist with a monetary gift please go to our website


Bernie’s Book Bank
917 N Shore Dr, Lake Bluff, IL 60044 (847) 780-7323

Use your time at home to sort through children’s books (ages birth through 6th grade) that you no longer need and donate to Bernie’s Book Bank


A Just Harvest

A Just Harvest is not open for sit down meals and has suspended its food pantry until further notice. Volunteer orientations are also suspended.With the help of our partners, our nightly hot meal is being offered “to-go” from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.This also means that opportunities for on-site volunteers are greatly reduced at this time.

**HOWEVER, we could use help in the purchasing, ordering and/or delivering of supplies. (please find LIST here). Financial gifts are crucial in sustaining our work in this crisis. (please DONATE here).


The Sports Shed

Due to the COVID-19 situation and the NCAA Tournament cancelation, the Sports Shed Bracket Challenge has been cancelled. We are thinking of all athletes and families who are facing sickness, disappointment and hardship at this time.  If you would like to still donate to make summer AAU basketball possible for girls in programs like Lady Reign Basketball please do so below.

Lady Reign gives 80 girls on six teams the opportunity to compete in tournaments that set them up for higher level of play and possible scholarship opportunities.


Refugee One

Refugee One is doing everything it can to help families navigate healthcare, mitigate loss of wages, and remain in their homes. Meanwhile, we continue offering our regular services to the fullest extent possible while staff works remotely. Visit our website to learn how we’re supporting refugees impacted by the virus.You’ll also find resources for volunteers and information about how you can help.
Refugee One has no doubt our community will weather this storm together. They’ve already been so encouraged by the way friends like you are stepping up to support refugees at this time. However, your support is needed to ease the burdens of refugees experiencing the direct and indirect consequences of COVID-19. Please consider a gift today.


The Josselyn Center
847-441-5600 x 1

Affordable Tele-Mental Health Services. We are here for you by Zoom or phone: Call 847-441-5600 x 1 to schedule an appointment. Tele-psychiatry • Tele-therapy-Case management • The Living Room (ages 18+) • Supported employment (ages 18+)

Our Living Room is a free service staffed by Peer Specialists. To talk with our Peer Specialists, call 847-496-3170 Monday-Friday between 9am – 5pm and Saturday 9am – 2pm.Josselyn accepts Medicaid, Medicare, most private insurance, and we have a sliding fee scale. If you have other medical questions, please consult with your primary care physician or pediatrician.


Setting Up Zoom info:

Thank you Women’s Exchange  for this Zoom help: Click Here for a Helpful YouTube re: Using Zoom

Tips and Technology Suggestions for Working at Home and More from Executive Service Corps

Supporting Families During COVID-19

World Health Organization

What to do if you have been exposed:


Thank you for your kindness and generosity —  and for your participation in our volunteer community.
Stay healthy and safe.

March 20, 2020

Kids Against Hunger is POSTPONED!

March 9, 2020

In March the VC Celebrated Some Outstanding Volunteers — And Our 60th Anniversary — At Our Annual Recognition Event.

Couldn’t join us, but still want to make a donation?  Click here.


February 13, 2020

Don’t Miss Our Next Training Event: “How to Fully Fund Your Nonprofit Every Year!”

Any nonprofit looking to grow its large donor base cannot afford to miss this game-changing training program.  Register Today!

The Volunteer Center and the Winnetka-Northfield Chamber of Commerce invite you to a luncheon and a results-based program lead by Sherry Quam Taylor, President of Quam Taylor LLC.  Sherry teaches nonprofit leaders how to shift from small-dollars to investment-level donations.  Working with Sherry, you’ll learn how to confidently prepare and ask for the donations that fully fund your programs and mission every year.

Luncheon and Program
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Kenilworth Assembly Hall
410 Kenilworth Avenue, Kenilworth

Together, we’ll each create a practical step-by-step path to grow your organization’s funding. And she’ll also share the things you might be doing that are keeping larger donors from giving to you. You’ll walk away with hands-on strategies you can use immediately to help you get larger donations.

Check out Sherry’s Website:


Sherry’s Results Speak for Themselves…

Sandi was struggling to grow her charitable giving. Working with Sherry she learned the 3 most important things she needed to prepare for solicitations.  After she applied them, her organization’s annual gala grew from $75,000 in 2018 to over $200,000 in 2019.

Bing was struggling to secure and grow larger gifts for her nonprofit. Major corporations gave regularly, but their gifts were relatively small. Using the engagement strategies she learned in Sherry’s program, Bing built relationships with the decision makers. This strategy grew an annual gift from a major financial institution from $5,000 gift to $25,000 the 1st year.

David was faced with the high start-up costs of a Capital Campaign for his new Nonprofit. David knew he had a few large donors in his network, but didn’t have knowledge or experience in asking for large gifts. He invested in Sherry’s LET’S GROW 90-Day program —  and secured a $300,000 lead gift in the first 60 days of the campaign.

…and Sherry’s Clients Sing Her Praises

After years of not really having a solid strategy to increase our donor base or gift dollar amounts, this program has given me the tools, resources, and confidence I have been looking for.  (Kim, Founder and Executive Director of ARTS)

I’ve met or exceeded my fundraising goals while working with Sherry – she’s coached me to successful high 5-figure asks!  (Simone, Executive Director of Naomi’s House)

This program is a game-changer. Your expertise and guidance is sincerely appreciated and we look forward to what’s to come. I am grateful for this opportunity. (Jeannine, Board Member)

Register Today!

Walk-ins are discouraged.  

Nonprofit Luncheon and Training: "How to Fully Fund Your Nonprofit Every Year"

Wednesday, February 12th 11:30-1:30 Kenilworth Assembly Hall 410 Kenilworth Avenue, Kenilworth
  • Price: $50.00 Quantity:
    Registration at members-only rate for 1 attendee from a current Nonprofit Partner of The Volunteer Center OR a Member of the Winnetka-Northfield Chamber of Commerce.
  • Price: $40.00 Quantity:
    Registration at members-only rate for 2 or more attendees from the same member nonprofit. Must be a current Nonprofit Partner of The Volunteer Center OR a Member The Winnetka-Northfield Chamber of Commerce.
  • Price: $60.00 Quantity:
    Non-members are very welcome. The non-member registration rate includes your enrollment as a VC Nonprofit Partner with full benefits. To learn more about the benefits of becoming a VC Nonprofit Partner or to enroll, please contact us for more information.
  • Price: $50.00 Quantity:
    Non members are very welcome. The non-member registration rate includes your enrollment as a VC Nonprofit Partner with full benefits. To learn more about the benefits of becoming a VC Nonprofit Partner or to enroll, please contact us for more information.
  • $0.00
    Please check the appropriate box above and hit SUBMIT to complete your registration. You will be directed to PayPal, but you only need to complete the PayPal form if you are paying by credit card.


Volunteer Center:

Winnetka-Northfield Chamber of Commerce:




January 15, 2020

MLK, Jr. Day of Service 2020: “Give Back in Harmony!” A Special Community Celebration


January 7, 2020

Provide Groceries for Low-Income and Homeless Families at Our Annual “Share Your Bounty” This Thanksgiving

The Volunteer Center is once again looking for volunteers to provide holiday groceries to families and individuals in need at Good News Partners (GNP) this Thanksgiving. Any individual, family or group looking for a way to safely help during this particularly challenging time is invited to fill either a cloth or double bagged paper bag — or small box — with all of the items in the list below, then drop it off between 10am and noon on Thanksgiving morning to 1600 W. Jonquil, Chicago (Rogers Park area off of Howard).  Read on for more details.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our dedicated volunteers!

November 5, 2019

Maybe Your Nonprofit IS the Bomb. But Is It Hitting the Right Target?


Nonprofit Directors and Communications Officers, please join the VC — and 2 industry heavy-hitters — for breakfast and a highly motivational training program designed to help you build effective marketing and communications strategies for your nonprofit.  This will be a thought-provoking workshop that will also be a valuable opportunity for you to network with other nonprofits facing the same challenges you are.  The VC will also share a comprehensive local media contact list for attendees. Registration Required by November 18 am. Registration form below.

Tuesday, November 19

Winnetka Community House
620 Lincoln Avenue

Susan Noyes
Founder & Publisher of Make It Better Media Group

Susan will discuss “Activating Your Audience”, highlighting best communication practices that have proven to build awareness of and support for successful nonprofits – particularly online.  This Amplification & Connection Strategy is particularly effective in improving sponsorships, donations and ticket sales for major fundraising events.


Chris Hogan
Managing Director of i3Insights and Executive Service Corps Member

Chris will cover “Marketing Your Nonprofit”, with focus on applying Marketing Positioning to define and solidify your nonprofit’s image in the hearts and minds of your constituents. He will provide you a framework to help you articulate your nonprofit’s unique benefit,  and why your constituents will believe it, over other relevant non-profits.

About Our Presenters

About Susan Noyes
In 2007, Susan founded, a small, community website. It blossomed into a multi-platform publishing company, serving similar demographics throughout Chicagoland, Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area — with a vibrant digital ecosystem, print magazines, custom publishing partnerships, videos, awards and signature events.

All three publications–Better, Marin Magazine and SPACES and their corresponding digital platforms help generate those powerful, positive connections that will inspire you to live, love, work and play with greater purpose.

She also launched the Make It Better Foundation and annual Philanthropy Awards in 2012.  She occasionally appears on CNBC’s Closing Bell Investor Roundtable.   Susan practiced law for Sidley & Austin from 1983-1989, then focused her efforts as a philanthropist, and uber volunteer while raising 6 children.   She serves on multiple Chicago nonprofit boards including American Red Cross Chicago Chapter, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Poetry Foundation.

Better, formerly known as Make it Better began as a small website 12 years ago and has grown into a multi-platform publishing company, serving similar demographics throughout Chicagoland and the San Francisco Bay Area — with a vibrant digital ecosystem, print magazines, custom publishing partnerships, videos, awards and signature events.Better’s dream continues to be to create, strengthen, and connect communities across the country.  Simply put, Better helps generate those powerful, positive connections that will inspire you to live, love, work and play with greater purpose.


About Chris Hogan
Chris is the Founder and Managing Director of i3Insights, a marketing and consumer insights consultancy across many industries. Chris is also a member of Executive Service Corps (ESC) an organization which provides consulting for non-profit organizations. He brings to his clients the knowledge gained and lessons learned from 35 years of experience working in consumer insights, shopper insights, analytics and category management. Chris has also taught consumer research as an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Chicago.

Previously, Chris was SVP Consumer Insight & Analytics at ConAgra.  His responsibilities included insights and analytics for both the Consumer and Commercial Business Units. Prior to ConAgra, Chris had a variety of insight positions with increasing responsibility at Kraft Foods including: VP Consumer Insights & Strategy Kraft International responsible for consumer and shopper insights in 70 countries around the globe; VP Category Management Kraft North America responsible for the creation and leadership of Kraft’s Shopper Insights team, as well as leading the Category Management initiatives for the Kraft Sales organization; Director Consumer Insights for multiple business units across the Kraft U.S. portfolio of products.

i3 Insights was founded by Chris Hogan, after Chris successfully accumulated 30+ years of experience leading Insights, Analytics and Category Management teams at multiple Fortune 100 companies. This includes both U.S. and International experience identifying marketing insights that drove Brand Strategy, Brand Communication, Innovation and Category Management Opportunities. As a result, i3 Insights provides an uncommon level of both breadth and depth of knowledge in activating consumer insights, shopper insights, analytics, and strategic marketing that influences, inspires and impacts your business results. Chris also is an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Chicago,teaching consumer research design and analysis.


For more information, email Barb Tubekis at, or call 847-441-7665




November 4, 2019

Please Join Us at Our School Service-Learning Workshop and Networking Event


Calling All Faith-based and School Parent Organization Presidents and Service-Learning Outreach Chairs





Need to spice up your faith-based or school’s community service program for your families and students? Don’t currently have a service program? This Volunteer Center workshop will give you a solid foundation to start — or enhance — one. We will provide new ideas to engage your youth in age appropriate service activities that benefit nonprofits who are making a difference in our community. Network with your volunteer colleagues and share insights at this best-practices training on how to plan Service Projects or full scale Service-Learning Programs that will inspire your congregations and students to a lifelong passion for service.

The Volunteer Center is also excited to introduce a new Junior Board for public, private and parochial middle school students! More information will be shared about this at the workshop as well.

Join Us!  If you have questions, please e-mail us at, or call Barb Tubekis 847-441-7665



October 18, 2019
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