By Michael Cornicelli
Executive Vice President, BOMA/Chicago
This week, more than 115 BOMA/Chicago members took a big step toward making the 2011 holiday season better for those less fortunate. They registered to receive a collection barrel to gather food as part of the annual holiday food drive organized by the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Now in its fourth year, the Food Depository’s annual holiday food drive drive is a tangible example of how Chicago’s commercial real estate community collectively can make a difference in the lives of people all across the metropolitan region. You can get a perspective of the scope of the impact of BOMA/Chicago members by visiting this website, then noting the locations identified by a yellow pin.
In 2010 BOMA/Chicago buildings collected more than 18,000 pounds of food, which is 5,000 pounds more than the previous year. We’re confident the amount collected in the 2011 drive will be even greater than last year’s total. The drive runs through December 9, and the donated food will be distributed by the GCFD to a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.
At BOMA/Chicago, we’re very proud of our members’ contributions to the community, during the three weeks we host the drive and though other initiatives; but what’s also noteworthy is this: The holiday food drive is just one of the many large-scale, coordinated efforts by business and charitable interests in Chicago to give back to those struggling to secure basic human needs like food for themselves and their families.
Here are three examples of charitable endeavors taking place during the 2011 holiday season.
- The Salvation Army/Chicago Bears Coat Drive. Running through December 4, the goal of this drive is to collect new and gently-used coats that are distributed by the Salvation Army to help people stay warm during our always-cold winters. The drive is now in its 23rd year. Last year, 50,000 coats were collected at Chicago area Jewel-Osco stores.
- U.S. Marine Corps Chicago Toys for Tots. The mission of this annual program started by the U.S. Marine Corps more than a decade ago is to collect new toys for children from needy families in Chicago and many surrounding communities. The program has 18 corporate partners and counts on public and private buildings to serve as drop off sites for donations. Toys will be collected through December 9.
- Children’s Home + Aid Holiday Gift Drive. Children in foster care, residential treatment or in need of other assistance are the recipients of this program administered by Children’s Home + Aid, a social service agency with roots going back to 1883. Donors are asked to fulfill a child’s or family’s “wish list” and contribute to an annual holiday party. The organization is supported by more than a dozen local corporations and foundations.
What other annual holiday programs are out there to help the hungry, the disadvantaged and the needy in and around Chicago? Does your commercial property or company have a program of its own? Share your thoughts and help build awareness for these important causes.