You know that really big river that flows through Chicago? Yup, that one, the Chicago River. Well, “Friends of the Chicago River” is the only organization solely dedicated to the Chicago River. Since 1979, this organization has been working hard to improve and maintain the health of the river system for the benefit of people, plants and animals. The Chicago River is a total of 156 miles long. Friends’ work spans the entire thing from focusing on a greener habitat to making sure the water is clean and usable for everyone to enjoy.
There are many volunteer opportunities available. Friends is always welcoming those interested in participating to make the river a cleaner place for everyone. Whether you’re looking to get your hands dirty or help work on special events there’s something for everyone. For those looking to get involved, you can sign up at chicagoriver.org.
Saturday, May 12th is Chicago River Day! This is an annual event where people can collectively make long term improvements to the Chicago River. Anyone and everyone of all ages is welcome! There are 60 locations spanning the Chicago River to choose from.
Each year, Friends of the Chicago River chooses a spirit animal to help spread awareness about the health of the river and how it affects many living creatures. This year’s spirit animal is the Monarch Butterfly, known to make very large two way migrations from Canada to Mexico, nearly 3,000 miles. Many butterflies follow the Mississippi River along with the Chicago Rivers important extension of the fly.
There is no better form of feeling than having someone in your corner that has fought the same battle you are facing. Cancer is no different. Imerman Angels connect cancer fighters, survivors, and caregivers who have fought cancer, are fighting cancer, or have cared for a loved one with cancer.
One of the co-founders, Jonny Imerman, was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 26. It changed him more than just physically, it taught him just how precious life really is. As he made his courageous recovery, he was surrounded by loving family, but none of which shared his experience. This inspired gave him the idea to create Imerman Angels.
Since its inception in 2003, thousands have been connected with someone who understands their experience first hand. These angels are connected via email, phone, and some are connected in person. They organization provides support throughout all 50 states and 93 countries.
If you are fighting or have fought cancer, even if you have been a caregiver for someone with cancer, you are invited to become a mentor to someone else going through that experience. If you have never battled or cared for someone else with cancer, you can support Imerman Angels by volunteering to run for Team Imerman in different marathons throughout the U.S., which are listed on their website), or volunteer to work at fundraising events. For more information on this organization, visit ImermanAngels.com
The Greater Chicago Food Depository was founded by Tom O’Connell, Robert W. Strube, Sr., Father Philip Marquard, Gertrude Snodgrass, Ann Connors and Ed Sunshine in 1978. Since then they have been trying to make an impact in the city of Chicago. They have been a part of many programs over the years and the amount of food they have supplied has grown exponentially. The main goal of the Greater Chicago Food Depository is to make an impact on the amount of hungry people in Chicago.
Personally, I have volunteered for the Greater Chicago Food Depository before and I was pretty impressed by the staff and the amount of people that would show up everyday to help volunteer as well. I talked to a couple people while I was there and some of them show up everyday to volunteer just because it makes them feel good to know that they are helping to make a difference. Another thing that I found interesting was that they have a program where the participants take 12 weeks and learn some new culinary skills as well as participate in a 2 week internship following the 12 week period of training. This could be a great way to help people get jobs that have no experience what so ever. Another reason to look into the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
The fight against hunger remains constant on the south side of Chicago and also with the rest of the city. I have seen people constantly walking up and down the streets asking for money to help get them back on their feet. It saddens me to see these people outside in all types of weather with seemingly no hope in their heart. Below I have left you guys a video that explains a little bit more about their mission and why they are doing what they do. They are always looking for volunteers that are ready to make a difference in their community.