The Bridge Project simplifies their focus and zeros in on the basic comfort of a home cooked meal.
As a traveler you would be remiss to live in a new city or town and not truly get to know it from top to bottom the best you can in the short time you are there. One of the best ways to do so is to get away from the tourist traps and finely manicured areas, and go to where “the other half” lives. Volunteering with local agencies that do outreach to communities in need allows you not only to meet new people and make friends, but also to see the entire city in which you are a guest.
Here in Chicago, the Bridge Project is just such an organization. Its a group of caring, kind, and down to earth volunteers led by an amazing pastry chef, Heather May. Working together, meals are made, toiletries packaged, and clothing gathered. After cooking chef inspired meals, the group goes out into the community and hands out all the essentials they can to our fellow citizens down on their luck here in this amazing city.
As a social worker, (in my former career), I worked with many agencies to reach out to the community and help coordinate mental health, housing, or addiction services for those living on the street. The Bridge Project simplifies their focus and zeros in on the basic comfort of a home cooked meal. So many times the homeless have thoughtless leftovers flung their way for which they are expected to take and be grateful. But they are human beings deserving of more thought. Most of us associate food with love, family, and community. Heather May and her volunteers have found a way to emulate that through their outreach.
Bottom line, GET INVOLVED! Do more than re-post a video of other people helping the homeless community. Get out there and give your time, conversation, and respect to those who are so often disregarded. Remember, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
“The goal of the Bridge Project is to close the gap between people by spreading love through gourmet food. On the second Saturday of each month, morning volunteers prepare gourmet meals (with ingredients given in-kind by Chicago’s top restaurants) and sort through clothing essentials and toiletry donations.
With warm food in our hands and with warm hearts, afternoon volunteers hit the streets of Chicago to share food and listen to our brothers and sisters who are hungry or experiencing homelessness.
Truth is, it could be any one of us out there; it is often extreme and unexpected circumstances that have led our neighbors to these life challenges. Most of the people we encounter on the streets are ignored and unheard, and we hope to be part of changing that.” –chicagobridgeproject.com
As a volunteer you will chop, stir, peel, and assemble the food then package it into individual containers. You will be led by our founder and professional chef Heather May, who curates the four-course gourmet menu.
WHEN: 10:30am-1pm, second Saturday of each month
WHERE: 3325 W. Wrightwood Ave Chicago,IL
As a volunteer you will help sort through donations and choose appropriate items for distribution that day. We have categories for men, women, children, and basic toiletries. Volunteers also write notes of encouragement to include in the packages.
WHEN:10:30am-1pm, second Saturday of each month
WHERE: 3325 W. Wrightwood Ave Chicago, IL
Volunteers meet at a designated spot near downtown Chicago and find folks in need. The meals and donations prepared earlier in the day are distributed as we get to know our brothers and sisters who are experiencing homelessness. Volunteer drivers are also needed each month.
WHEN: 2pm-4pm, second Saturday of each month
Different items are needed each month: water bottles, new socks and underwear, hand warmers, toiletries, etc. We rely on your generous donations to fulfill these requests. Click HERE to sign up for this month’s donations. Online giving your preference? Visit our Amazon Wish List to contribute.
WHERE: Drop off locations will be emailed to you after sign up”