Giving Tuesday: How you can give and get help in Chicago area

ByKay Cesinger WLS logo
Sunday, November 27, 2022
Our Chicago Part 1: How you can give and get help on Giving Tuesday
What is giving Tuesday 2022? Here's how you can give and get help with the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- This time of year is often about getting together with loved ones to share a family meal.

But, many families in the Chicago area don't have enough to eat now, or at any other time of the year.

There is help available. The Northern Illinois Food Bank serves 13 counties and the Greater Chicago Food Depository distributes food to pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and many programs here in the city and across Cook County.

But, right now, both organizations are dealing what might be described as a triple challenge: increasing need, supply chain issues and rising food costs.

"We have seen a 40% increase in need over last year. Every month we are serving about 440,000 individuals who are coming to us for help," said Julie Yurko, president and CEO of the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

At the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Executive Director and CEO Kate Maehr said, "We're having to pay more for the food that we're getting to distribute to our neighbors. And then, on top of that, there continue to be supply chain challenges."

"At Northern Illinois Food Bank, if you invest a dollar we can provide $8 worth of groceries. A $100 donation can help support a family for an entire year," said Yurko, "So Giving Tuesday is such a great opportunity to make a big impact. Your donation will be matched if you choose to invest in our work on Giving Tuesday."

Both the Northern Illinois Food Bank and the Greater Chicago Food Depository need not only donations, but volunteers.

As for those who might need assistance, "And they can go to our websites and learn where they can turn to food pantries to get the food that they need to thrive," said Maehr, adding that "everyone is welcome."

Another organization working to make change is Lever for Change. The Chicago nonprofit, founded in 2019, is working to connect donors with organizations trying to solve some of the world's biggest problems. Among them are racial inequity and climate change.

WATCH: Our Chicago Part 2

This time of year is often about getting together with loved ones to share a family meal.

Dr. Cecilia Conrad is the CEO of Lever for Change. She compared the organization's work to a "broker" of giving.

"America's richest people are sitting on about $4 trillion right now and this has grown over the COVID period. And, many of them have expressed a desire got give away their wealth. But, just recently, of course, Jeff Bezos noted that philanthropy is hard. And giving away money effectively is difficult. So, at Lever for Change, we're trying to make it easier. We do that by working with donors to match them with projects and there are many of them out there that have really great ideas to take a big slice of critical problems and to bring their solutions to scale," Conrad said.

She said Lever for Change has moved $1 billion over the past three years. Conrad said they have organizations from more than 130 countries that they're working with. Recently, Communities United partnered with Lurie Children's Hospital and received a donation from the Kellogg Foundation through its Racial Equity 2030 program.

For more information on the Greater Chicago Food Depository:

For more information on the Northern Illinois Food Bank:

For more information on Lever For Change: