Browsing Tag

chicago cares

What Do Bingo and Cereal Have in Common?

KB's Journey, Volunteer Opps

Happy Monday, folks! Did you all have a great weekend? I had a great Saturday with a not-so-great Sunday thanks to a nagging cold and an agonizing Bears loss. But, it’s all good today. It’s a sunny 40 degrees in Chicago, which we will definitely take considering that it’s the middle of December!

On Saturday, I participated in two service projects which I discovered on the Chicago Cares website. The first was Birthday Bingo at a senior apartment building down the street from me, and the other was repackaging bulk food at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Can I tell you guys how much fun I had at with the seniors? Some people think that it’s weird but I actually enjoy hanging with seniors. They actually remind me of my mom. Does that sound weird? My sister knows what I mean. But, yes…Before we got underway with the bingo, the Chicago Cares Carolers stopped by and sang some of my favorite holiday songs. I didn’t even know that they had carolers! I’m definitely going to do that next year.

"Deck the halls..."

Moving on to bingo, I have to tell you guys that calling numbers is not as easy as I thought. There is so much pressure to be loud, don’t read them too fast, to be entertaining, and most importantly, to call the right number! The residents went easy on me though. After about eight games of bingo and a couple of slices of red velvet cake, it was time to leave but I promised to return next month. It’s right down the street…I have no excuse. And, I had FUN!

At the Food Depository, our group was one of many who had signed up to help that day, including a large team from J.P. Morgan Chase. They worked on the massive warehouse floor, while the smaller groups were charged with repacking 3000 lbs of cereal into 8oz bags for Chicago families. Our goal was to make 2000 bags, so with our hair nets, aprons, and gloves we got busy. I was a “weigher,” meaning that it was my job to weigh each bag and adjust the amount as necessary before handing to my “taper.” We worked like a well-oiled machine to accomplish the task. In 2.5 hours (give or take), our group actually packaged over 2,800 bags of cereal! I believe that the exact total was 2,866. Whoo hoo!

How do I look?

When I got in my car, I took a moment and smiled. It’s amazing what a couple of hours can mean to an individual, a group of seniors, or a community of needy families. This service challenge is totally restoring my soul and putting me in the right mindset as I get ready for 2012. This past week, I logged 6 hours of service, and I have 22 hours scheduled this week. I took today off of work and am heading to the MS Society to volunteer for the day, then off to a school this evening to help with their library restoration project.

As always, please continue to send volunteer opportunities my way! And, keep checking the blog and my Facebook page for recaps, updates, and photos.

-kb

P.S. I promise to take more pictures…Don’t you guys worry! 🙂

Serve-A-Thon Launches My Summer of Service!

KB's Journey, Volunteer Opps

This past Saturday, I joined over 1000 Chicago volunteers to participate in the 17th Annual Chicago Cares Serve-a-Thon. Year after year, this event gathers teams of do-gooders for a day of beautifying schools across the city. Chicago is one of the most poorly funded school districts in the US, so things like painting are often seen as extras that can’t be afforded.

I teamed up with my great friend, Brian, who put together “Team Sleet.” We spent our Saturday painting a classroom at Faraday Elementary on the city’s West Side. Our task: Replace the bright yellow walls with a cool blue. I may be a bit biased, but I thought our team was the best one (outside of the mural artists). Team Sleet shared the room with a group of three gals and we had a blast! You seriously would have thought that we were friends before the Serve-a-Thon.

Before!

After!

I only snagged a couple of pics because I was too nervous about getting paint on my Blackberry. Losing a pair of old jeans and some gymshoes to the paint gods is one thing. Losing my phone would send me to therapy.

After completing our project, it was back to Soldier Field to enjoy a live band, some beers, and snacks. It was a great way for me to spend my Saturday, and the best way to kick off my summer of service!

Serve-a-Thon crowd enjoying the band

I know that I’ve plugged Chicago Cares before on this site, but I have to do it again! If you’re in the city and looking for great volunteer opportunities, definitely check out their website. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find some great service opps around town!

-kb