It’s that time again, when Chicagoans crank the heat, pull up the covers and begin their hibernation until the temperatures rise above 20 degrees. Snowy days are a fun chance to slow life down a bit but they’re also great times to give back and get to know your neighbors! Here are 5 ways that you can give back this winter:

1) Cook dinner for an elderly neighbor. It’s a great way to check in on a senior without seeming abrasive. Plus, your neighbor will enjoy a warm meal without having to worry about getting out of the house to do grocery shopping. This is a great option for families because everyone can help, kids too young to cook can make handmade cards to include with delivery.

2) Shovel snow. Help dig out a random car on your street, clear your block’s sidewalks of snow or offer to shovel a neighbor’s walkway free of charge. No one is as beloved as the neighbor who helps with snow removal and you might just score yourself a warm cup of cocoa if you’re lucky!

3) Help someone get their vehicle unstuck. You don’t have to walk far to find someone revving their car’s engine but not moving anywhere. Tips: 1) Make sure you remain in the driver’s vision at all times. 2) Place a piece of cardboard under the spinning tire to give the car enough traction to get unstuck.

4) Donate your old winter clothes. With windchill temperatures under 20 degrees, many are in need of warm clothes. Drop off your donation of  winter clothes at these non-profit organizations, most of whom are also Chicago Cares community partners:

a. Bottomless Closet– Accepts Business Casual clothing

b. Deborah’s Place– Accepts any type of clothing

c. LaSalle Street Church– Accepts any type of clothing

d. Cornerstone Community Outreach– Accepts any type of clothing

5) Volunteer at Chicago Cares. We make sure that nearly all of our projects are easily accessible by public transportation, so avoid cabin fever and warm your heart by helping others! If a project that you’re signed up for has to be canceled due to weather, you’ll receive an email alerting you to the schedule change.