Making sure those in need know that someone cares and doing what they can to help is the mission of the Kindness Team at Envision Unlimited Westtown Center.
Founded in March 2022, the idea started in one Westtown morning meeting when staff and members were discussing the war in Ukraine.
“We talked about what we could do to support Ukrainians, and one member, Larry B, took a dollar out of his pocket, saying he wanted to help,” says Hannah Lowe, Westtown Center program director. The project grew organically from there.
A few members followed suit in donating a couple bucks or the change in their pockets. In meetings that followed, members raised more of their own money, then asked friends and family members to donate, then entertained the idea of asking everyone at Envision Unlimited. After realizing many people wanted to help, they set a goal of $1000, which they ultimately exceeded! The members really enjoyed fighting for an important cause.
“I personally think that having a meaningful, ongoing project with their peers gave them a sense of purpose and community,” says Hannah Lowe.
After they completed their fundraiser for Ukraine, other causes emerged naturally, and it became clear that the Kindness Team would stick around. Closer to home and more personal, the team organized a fundraiser for Dave, a friend of a Kipperman Kitchen tenant, who needed hospice.
The January food drive went well. The team collected 407 food items that were be donated to La Casa Norte which serves families and youth facing homelessness.
This month the Kindness Team made Valentines and care kits at the Humboldt Park Library for neighbors who are unhoused, then distributed them on Valentine’s Day to people living in tents and under underpasses.
Core members of the Kindness Team--Jamie P, Lucy P, Ernest R, Geneva B, Geniel B, William H, William C, Yolanda B, Sophia F, Kasandra M, Rosa M, Ruth M and Anthony B--enjoy including others to help spread kindness.
When no one else cares, we do.
-- Ernest R.