Chicago Help Initiative

Every Wednesday evening, The Chicago Help Initiative (CHI) gathers at the dining hall at 721 North La Salle Street to serve a warm meal to 130 guests in a safe and dignified setting. An additional 65 individuals receive a bag meal to go. The nutritious and delicious food is provided by local restaurants and hotels from Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and River North areas. Before dinner, a speaker gives a brief presentation on resources on finding temporary shelter, housing, medical care or job training. During the meal, guests share fellowship and have an opportunity to visit resource tables staffed with volunteers who maintain listings on a wide variety of services, including shelter, legal aid, medical care and job opportunities. Guests are given an opportunity to participate with several ongoing programs after dinner, including literacy, gardening, art classes, smoking cessation and bicycle repair.

It is CHI’s mission to assist our guests in bettering their lives and becoming contributing members of the community once again. We have only one paid staff person supported by interns, but every meal is served with upwards of 25 volunteers.

Art Program
Chicago
USA

Art: We provide classes and cultural exposure through a variety of settings. The concept is both ancient and practical – to provide an opportunity, through art, for people to look beyond their immediate circumstance, shift their focus, and find the inspiration and connection to move forward.

Literacy Program
Chicago
USA

CHI holds a regular weekly literacy program that matches volunteer tutors to individuals that need assistance. Our volunteers complete a one-day training workshop and then, with their student, create a plan of action that addresses the student’s specific literacy needs.

Individuals interested in volunteering with CHI as a tutor should please contact us

In 2012, we began collecting reading materials for our guests’ enlightenment and entertainment reading pleasure. At regular intervals we offer them a convenient source for books, magazines and newspapers.