Where love is needed most
Englewood is most vulnerable to public health crises. In 2019, I Grow Chicago served 3,000 people last year. Of those 3,000:
- 73% do not have steady jobs
- 62% do not have reliable access to internet
- 59% are food insecure
- 41% do not have health insurance
- 17% do not have a bed to sleep in
- 15% do not have access to running water
How we’re choosing love
I Grow Chicago’s response plan:
- We have developed an outreach plan to support the most vulnerable of our families, especially focusing on our elders, the immune compromised, and children home from CPS closures. Resources we are providing include:
- Care packages with basic needs supplies (food, soap, toilet paper) and games and books to each of our families with dedicated outreach workers
- Delivering safety protocol and best practices information to all families we serve
- Providing one-on-one tutoring and remote homework help to kids by phone
- Continuing to pay community staff members so they can pay their rent and maintain stability
We practice wellness by staying connected. To keep us safe, the Peace House will be closed to all regular programming and gathering. Instead, it will be used as a base for volunteers and supplies, as we practice social distancing and provide outreach instead. To mitigate social isolation, we will be:
- Providing emotional support to elders with a neighborhood call tree
- Hosting daily prayer group by phone
- Hosting Facebook live, video calls, and digital recordings of offerings such as meditations and loving kindness prayers, art projects, and poetry readings
We have developed a safety protocol that includes:
- The Peace House is closed for all programming and gathering, instead providing outreach and remote programming
- We have increased disinfection of all high-touch areas at regular intervals (10 am and 3 pm) throughout the day: doorknobs, bathroom, and kitchen
- All outreach workers will be checking their temperature every morning and wearing medical gloves for every delivery
- Assigning support roles based on risk (health, age, and vulnerability of family members) – from lowest risk of call trees at home, care package set up, to highest contact level of deliveries
Our goal is to maximize safety and assure that our residents are informed, fed, and supported emotionally. We are taking this day by day and week by week. We aren’t sure how long our city and our country will be under this pandemic, but we know that we have to be ready for anything. In the same vein of all our work, we are here to serve and support the community. Our plans will grow and adapt as we assess the needs and desires of the community.
How you can help
Sponsor our community members in their needs by putting together a care package. We have a specific list of items that will be best at getting our community everything they need. Please consult this list and any donation and care package put together must contain these items.
Sign up here to become a monthly donor. Larger donations are becoming less likely in these times and having a few people donate small amounts are critical to continuing our work.
The statement that drives our work: If in doubt, love. And this is a time of doubt. This is a time where our values are being tested.
From this uncertainty, we believe we have the opportunity to grow.
We are being called to pause commerce and consumption, to go inside and practice social distancing. If we can use this pause as a time for reflection and gratitude for what we have, we can take this moment to heal and plan for a better future.
We are being called to recognize the intricate connections of all human interaction. The health of someone down the block or halfway around the globe impacts each and everyone of us. Even as we maintain distance, we do not lose our interdependency and our desire for human connection. We must not lose our compassion.
We are being called to love. This is a time to come together in solidarity, even as we keep our physical distance. Love is what makes us human, it is what connects and sustains us. Love continues to drive our work, and we hope that you too choose love in these times of doubt.