Care for Friends would like to commemorate our education partners. Partnering with schools is a central part of our programming because it teaches young people social responsibility among so many other essential skills. Some of our current major supporters are Catherine Cook School, Oscar Mayer School and DePaul University.
Throughout the academic year, Catherine Cook continuously supports our Monday meal efforts by bussing groups of eager students to our location to serve hot meals every single week. We miss seeing their bright faces since the school closures but when we get back to normal operations we will undoubtedly resume. One of the underrated services to our guests is simple interaction and conversation with new people. The sociability that partnerships pave way for is a subtle but necessary aspect of healing and community building. According to an article written by Thomas Earl Backer & Elizabeth A. Howard, “Cognitive impairments can significantly affect an individual’s ability to obtain and maintain stable housing, and to benefit from supportive services.” Regulating the use of cognitive functions is one easy way to support our guests' rehabilitation back into stable living conditions.
Oscar Mayer School is also routinely giving time and effort to our organization. They participate in food drives to line the walls of our food pantry. They come in teams on a regular basis to cook hot meals together and teach their children about cooking and how to break down social barriers. They are currently a huge support as we’ve transitioned into the age of remote work by cooking meals at home and delivering them to us for distribution. Students have also done an incredible job uplifting our guests with their encouraging and beautiful artwork which we add to our bagged lunch services every week.
It’s not just the youngsters either. DePaul University is a huge advocate for how student involvement has the transformative power to create social change. We receive 10-15 students every quarter from the Sean's Center classes Active Citizens course and Spirituality and Homelessness class. Our student partners participate in cooking and serving meals, helping to advertise and promote our services, do some of the heavy lifting, fundraising, engaging directly with our guests and reflecting on the work. They get to experience first hand how empowering and humbling community service can be. This partnership allows us to educate young adults to challenge power structures, value community, and strive for a more just and equitable future.
Right now, with the pandemic adapting many of our services, there are newfound needs. We are always looking for new opportunities to spread our outreach, if you’re interested in how you might get your local school in partnership with our organization, please contact volunteer coordinator Bessana Kendig at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 773-932-1010. If you are eager to partner today the following are some options for how you can help. We can accept food and goods donations for the Market Table, set up every hot meal service on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 10:30am. If you want to collaboratively make meals for approximately 70 guests in the safety of your home to then be delivered, warmed up and distributed, we can arrange that--there’s nothing like the warmth of a home cooked meal! Even if you can only make a portion of a meal, for example 70 cookies for each bagged lunch, that is very helpful. We are also accepting toiletry donations. Every action no matter how small can make a positive difference.
Backer, T.E., Howard, E.A. Cognitive Impairments and the Prevention of Homelessness: Research and Practice Review. J Primary Prevent 28, 375–388 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10935-007-0100-1