With Thanksgiving just around the corner, most people are making last minute grocery runs and anxiously awaiting the company of family and friends. However, throughout Woodlawn, neighborhood members had the opportunity to celebrate early as a community and Chicago Cares volunteers were there to help!

Last week volunteers assisted Living Room Café in prepping and cooking food for their Thanksgiving Community Meal. This annual event is an all day affair held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, feeding over 350 community members throughout Woodlawn. Each year, Chicago Cares helps provide turkeys and hams as well as assisting with cooking mashed potatoes and mac & cheese, baking tasty treats, setting tables, and serving meals.

Volunteers helped make Thanksgiving at Living Room Café a grand occasion, filled with laughs, hugs, and plenty of amazing food. That’s the magic of Thanksgiving; it gives us an opportunity to, for just a day, press the pause button on our work life and just hang out and enjoy the company of our loved ones. But what if I told you we could experience that magic all year round? Our hunger program volunteers have been doing just that!

Hunger programs at Living Room Café and the rest of the community agencies we work with are about more than feeding people. They’re about doing so in an atmosphere of dignity, respect and community. Our projects at Living Room Cafe create a fun restaurant style space which, in addition to serving individuals affected by homelessness or poverty, fosters a larger sense of community and fellowship. Volunteers often find themselves coming back to Living Room Cafe outside of the projects with Chicago Cares to serve at neighborhood wide breakfast events and holiday specials, alongside some of the same individuals they were serving earlier in the month. Service strengthens community, and we all can serve; so we can all make Chicago a stronger community.

The spirit of Living Room Café and Chicago Cares volunteers is felt all year long throughout the Woodlawn community. Every first and third Saturday Chicago Cares volunteers cook and serve breakfast for 30-40 community members, in addition to cooking and serving dinner every second Wednesday.  Throughout 2012, Chicago Cares volunteers have dedicated nearly 2,500 hours towards meeting hunger needs in the Woodlawn community while serving nearly 1,500 meals.

A donation of $100 through our I Care campaign not only provides Living Room Cafe food to serve nearly 35 clients, it creates an opportunity to keep that holiday magic alive well past this winter. Please consider making a donation to Chicago Cares and helping our hunger programs grow.

Visit our I Care campaign to make a donation today.Or click here to fundraise for Chicago Cares.