I hope this holiday season finds you well and able to safely spend time with your friends and family. As I look forward to 2021, I am so proud of the spirit and patience showed by residents in our community, and grateful for your continued trust in me.
I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in the upcoming legislative session. We have a lot of work to do on education, healthcare, environmental and criminal justice reform, and we must tackle our state’s finances in a sustainable, fiscally-responsible way.
We each celebrate the holidays in unique ways. My family always looks forward to lighting our menorah and baking family recipes together–our favorite is kugel. This year I will be making a special effort to support our local businesses and charities through these difficult times. I would encourage everyone in our community to do the same. Below, you can find information on excellent local charities to support.
Wishing you, your family, and friends health and happiness in the new year.
P.S.: Learn 12 ways to keep your holiday safe at https://allin.illinois.gov/!
Free COVID-19 Testing
Federal, state, and local officials have teamed up to provide free testing on the north side of Chicago. The site is open seven days a week and appointments are necessary. Learn more below and click here to book an appointment: bit.ly/jcctestingsite.
SHOP LOCAL: Our Businesses Need Your Support
Many merchants count on November and December for the majority of their sales. Even if shopping is a little different this year, spending dollars in our community helps keep our friends and neighbors employed. Check their websites or call your local Chambers of Commerce and individual merchants for information on shopping hours and special events.
Support Area Service Organizations
A number of charities are seeing significant increases in the need for basics, such as food and cold weather clothing, as well as toys.
Food banks and programs. To keep everyone as safe as possible, many food programs are requesting monetary donations to purchase goods or gift cards rather than accepting drop-off donations. Area programs needing support include:
- Evanston Food Pantry
- Niles Township Food Pantry
- Northfield Township Food Depository
- Hunger Resource Network
Winter clothing drive. The Rotary Club of Northbrook is holding its “Coat Off Your Back” initiative through December 30th. Donate new coats, gloves, boots, and other articles to help the homeless population. See drop-off locations here.
Toy collections.Northbrook is partnering with the US Marine Corps Reserve for its annual Toys for Tots drive. Drop off unwrapped toys at the Police or Fire Departments or Village Hall by December 18th.
Help Evanstonians in Need. The Evanston Community Foundation launched the Evanston Community Rapid Response Fund in March to meet the needs of the most vulnerable during COVID-19. Learn more and donate here.
Contribute to Youth Services of Glenview Northbrook Holiday Wish List. Help families in need by donating items on their gift lists as well as gift cards and wrapping paper. Learn how at ysgn.org. Volunteer in the Community. Do you have time to volunteer? There are many charitable organizations that could use your skills. Check out the variety of options at https://www.handsonsuburbanchicago.org/.
DISTRICT SHOUT-OUT: Evanston Students Behind the Mask Challenge
The CDC confirms that wearing a mask is one of the most effective tactics in reducing transmission of the coronavirus. It protects you and those around you. An Evanston youth group is documenting personal stories to educate and motivate us all to embrace wearing a mask as a public health imperative and community building opportunity. See their video stories here.
COVID ASSISTANCE: County Resident Help, Utility Shut-off Moratorium
- Financial Assistance for Qualified County Residents. The Cook County Bureau of Economic Development re-opened its Recovery Resident Cash Assistance program to help suburban Cook County residents experiencing financial insecurity due to the pandemic. Applications are due by the end of day, Dec. 11th. Check eligibility and apply here.
- Utility Shut-off Moratorium. Low-income residential customers and those who are experiencing financial or COVID-19 hardship should contact their service provider to discuss how to qualify. Participating companies include Ameren Illinois, Aqua Illinois, Illinois American Water, Commonwealth Edison, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, and Utility Services of Illinois. ComEd’s Helping Hand program provides one-time grants of up to $300 to eligible customers. Learn more at ComEd.com/PaymentAssistance.
Need some holiday cheer? Check out these festivities in the district.
Evanston Community Celebrations. Santa takes to the Purple line December 10th-12th to make your rides extra festive. Learn more about three other events hosted by the city’s Parks & Recreation:
- Write a letter to Santa through December 14th
- Enjoy an Extreme Dreidel & Candle Lighting on December 10th
- Participate in a community celebration of Kwanzaa from December 26th – January 1st.
Morton Grove Tree Decorating Contest. Submit your photo by Monday, December 21st to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win a Raising Cane’s gift basket.
Make and Take Home Sweet Treats in Skokie. The park district is sponsoring two fun activities for kidlets.
- Candy Cane Hunt. December 12th, 10 – 10:30 a.m. Learn more here.
- Gingerbread House Decorating Workshop. December 12th, 10 – 11 a.m. at the Oakton Community Center. Register here.
Wilmette Chanukah Fun. Lubavitch Chabad of Wilmette is celebrating with several activities.
- Get a Menorah. Share a Menorah. Volunteer Chanukah Ambassadors deliver a free, zero contact Chanukah Box to your doorstep. Email email@example.com.
- Rabbis Telling Jokes (on Zoom). Thursday, December 10th, 7 p.m. Kick off the 8 days of Chanukah with some laughs. Get Zoom access: ChabadWilmette.com/jokes.
- Drive-In Menorah Lighting. Sunday, December 13th, 5:15 p.m. Reserve your spot today and be treated to lights, a trivia game show, and music in the comfort of your car. ChabadWilmette.com/DriveIn.
Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a Family Challenge. The Glenview Park District is holding a multi-site challenge New Year’s Eve day. Teams and families can visit six park district locations to answer questions and find clues. More info and sign-up for a time slot here.
- Partnering with North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic and the Illinois Housing Council to discuss legislation to fund ongoing housing assistance.
- Supporting safe ways to recycle hazardous household waste at the Northfield Township Roads District facility and providing packages for Drug Take Back Day.
- Celebrating with St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church parishioners at the Advent Service.
- Convening Education and Mental Health Advisory Councils to gather constituent input on prospective legislation.
- Assisting a virtual Chanukah Lighting with Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois & the Illinois Jewish Legislative Caucus.