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Comments from King Poor, a suburban resident who works downtown and is a Chicago Shares “frequent giver.”
“Chicago Shares offers an immediate way to give needy people a boost — people who may say to themselves, ‘Who cares about me?’ Beyond the importance of providing someone with a meal, giving Shares also means giving someone encouragement.”
And a story from the frontlines: “Three days before Christmas, I was giving Shares to someone who’d been a regular recipient over the past year. He thanked me and then said that he wanted to show me something. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of the Shares that I’d given him. He said that he’d been saving them so he could buy something special for the holidays.
It was a reminder that we never know how small acts of encouragement may help lift someone up.”
Tell us – Why do you give Chicago Shares?
Send your thoughts to: Chicagoshares@gmail.com
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On June 26, 2016, Holy Name Cathedral honored Monseignor Dan Mayall with a reception in the lovely Cathedral courtyard. Msgr Mayall, a faithful board member of Chicago Shares for 12 years, is being transferred to another parish in Wilmette.
Executive director Julie Stagliano and past board chair Rich Kaczmarek were there to present a certificate of thanks on behalf of Chicago Shares.
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Seeing needy people on the streets of Chicago is not unusual. However, the DNAinfo Chicago, February 1, 2016, article headline about the needy was: The Most Lucrative Panhandling Spots Downtown, According to Panhandlers (emphasis added).
(For the full article, click here)
The reporter’s fresh approach was used to provide a fair-minded, street level view of the challenges and personal histories of some needy Chicagoans (dubbed “panhandlers” for this article).
The article echoed what has become a mantra among observers of the urban landscape, namely, “People who are homeless have always been stigmatized, but some groups say it’s worse now than ever.”
Reader responses (for responses, click here) to this article expressed varied emotions from compassion to the needs of those on the street, to frustration with the lack of government action, to criticism of the needy for not doing a better job of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps — and an assortment of others.
Here’s one more view plus an action step.
Viewpoint: While long-term solutions to homelessness and poverty is an imperative, we know that it’s critical to provide short-term help. In other words, we want to help the needy meet today’s need for food and basic necessities.
Action step: We suggest that those who want to provide immediate help to those they encounter on the street give them Chicago Shares vouchers instead of cash.
These vouchers (coupons) can be used for food and necessities – never for tobacco or alcohol – at Loop and near Loop establishments, including sandwich shops and grocery stories.
The program, which has been around since 1993, is simple and proven.
The $1 vouchers are sold at area places of worship and online.
Then generous Chicagoans can distribute them to needy people, who in turn can redeemed these vouchers at such places, for example, as Max’s Take Out, 20 W. Adams, and the Jewel at 550 N. State Street.
The article revealed that while there are some locations that are better than others to ask passersby for change, there is no universal best location (perhaps akin to identifying the best place to get a flat tire).
What this means for those wanting to help the needy they may encounter: It’d be wise to have a few Chicago Shares vouchers in your pocket or purse to hand out as the occasion might arise.