How We Can Help Our Community

While I was taking a walk earlier this week, I saw a large board installed on a neighbor’s lawn with the question, “What’s Your Silver Lining?” As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Skokie and all around the world, my silver lining is watching the best parts of the human spirit emerge with acts of kindness, compassion, and generosity.  

Are you wondering what you can do to help neighbors and our community during this time? Please consider a few of the following ways to take action.

Make and donate masks

Niles Township Government is inviting volunteer sewists to donate a total of 2,500 masks for food pantry recipients. This request is related to the Governor's modified Stay-at-Home order and the Village of Skokie's emergency directive.

View this sewist guide from Niles Township that outlines what you need to know to make masks for food pantry clients. 

Complete this form to volunteer to make masks.

Donate critical supplies for medical professionals

Do you have an unopened stash of N95 masks or disinfecting wipes at your home or workplace? NorthShore University HealthSystem has a specific list of current needs, and instructions on how to deliver your supplies, along with other ways you can help their frontline efforts.

As many blood drives have been cancelled, blood donations are needed. Check NorthShore’s Blood Bank for information about how you can make an appointment.

Get food to vulnerable seniors and families

Niles Township Food Pantry has added hours and a pop-up location in Morton Grove for people to pick up a week’s worth of dry goods. By Friday each week, the Food Pantry will confirm the hours and volunteer needs for the following week. Check this SignUpGenius page to sign up. 

Because our local food pantry has limited spaces for volunteers, these weekly opportunities fill up quickly. The Greater Chicago Food Depository supplies Niles Township Food Pantry and many others, and they are urgently looking for help.  

State Senator Ram Villivalam’s office is recruiting volunteers to deliver groceries to people who are 60 years and older living in the 8th District, which covers parts of Skokie, Morton Grove, Lincolnwood, and Niles, along with northside Chicago wards.  Complete this form to volunteer.

Make a well-being call

Senator Villivalam’s office is also mobilizing volunteers to reach out to seniors by phone. Along with being a warm, friendly voice to someone who may be isolated during this time, volunteers identify specific issues for follow-up by the Senator’s constituent services staff. Complete this form to volunteer.  

Build a sense of community and create neighborhood connections

You don’t have to sign up with an organization to help. Like the Skokie families creating window art for people to enjoy while taking walks, or my neighbor with the Silver Lining board, you can do something to bring joy and offer encouragement to your neighbors. Share that extra package of toilet paper. Organize a car parade for kids on the block. Order food from a local restaurant and have it delivered to first responders at your neighborhood fire station. 

One of my colleagues is leaving puzzles on her neighbor’s porch, and the neighbor responds by sending back pictures of her progress. Be creative, and be safe--physical distancing and obsessive handwashing still apply. Neighbors helping neighbors--let’s spread kindness!