The Heartland Alliance family looks for reasons to come together and celebrate each other, and Thanksgiving is always a favorite for our staff and participants. Many find the holiday a special time for service and community, making several of our program sites perfect gathering spots. We’re bringing together refugees and immigrants to celebrate the holiday for the first time. We’re ensuring that people don’t go hungry during the holiday. We’re celebrating the hard work and success of the people we serve. It may look a little different across all of our programs, but each celebration is grounded in our commitment to achieve equity and opportunity for all.
Vital Bridges Food Pantry
The north side branch of our Vital Bridges “Groceryland” food pantry network has a lot to be grateful for this season. This November, Lori Cannon and her crew of volunteers are celebrating the 25th anniversary of its operations. With a primary focus on serving individuals living with HIV/AIDS, the pantry’s strong support from the LGBTQ community has been out in force – handing out turkeys and all the fixins to our grateful participants.
READI Chicago Celebration
READI Chicago outreach and transitional jobs partners Institute for Nonviolence Chicago and Heartland Human Care Services hosted a Thanksgiving celebration for the READI Chicago Austin community. READI Chicago staff from across the agency joined participants and their families for food, music, and thanks. During the celebration, participants received awards for job readiness and cognitive behavioral therapy milestones, and READI Chicago staff presented honors to the mothers of those we have lost throughout the year.
Marjorie Kovler Center Cooking Group
Kovler Center’s International Cooking Group began in 2005 as an outgrowth of a French-speaking women’s group that met for mutual support. Now the group’s monthly Friday evening meals are a vibrant mix of participants from all over the world designing a meal from their home country and leading other participants in the preparation. The participants, volunteers, and staff that form the Kovler Center family come from more than 60 different countries across the globe. At any given time, you will hear five or more languages being spoken in our activities, including during cooking group. We wouldn’t have it any other way! Happy Thanksgiving! Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias!
Refugee and Immigrant Community Services – RICSGiving
Our refugee resettlement team loves to celebrate their annual tradition, where new Americans from around the city gather to eat, connect, and enjoy the holiday season – with some enjoying Thanksgiving for the very first time! Taking a break from ESL and employment training, groups came together for art and food, and to share what they’re grateful for – ultimately placing their thanks in the feathers on our “Gratitude Turkey.”
The Refugee and Immigrant Community Services (RICS) team is particularly thankful for their longtime partner and supporter, East Bank Club. The River North fitness club has been a longtime employer of numerous new Americans, providing them the opportunity necessary to rebuild their lives in Chicago. Every Thanksgiving, the team at EBC give their employees the option to donate their Thanksgiving Day turkeys to our resettlement programs – which go to some very happy families!