In a difficult year and holiday season, many across the Chicago area have stepped up with extraordinary acts of giving and helpfulness, trying to make this holiday season feel as close to normal as possible.
Marines and sewing machines are an unlikely combination for all but Nicholas Robert Stevenson. After being injured serving overseas, he turned to the hum of a sewing machine to help with PTSD recovery.
Little did he know at the time, his choice of therapy would end up helping so many.
After the COVID-19 pandemic changed life as normal in the spring, Stevenson realized the majority of the vets he spent time with over at the Jesse Brown VA didn’t have access to masks.
Stevenson’s hobby then went into overdrive, churning out hundreds of patriotic masks for his fellow vets.
Since March, the ‘Sewing Machine Marine’ has made nearly 3,000 masks. His products can be seen at at his Etsy.
South Side pastor Larry Jones was also on a mission to serve, looking for a unique way to help his Burnside neighbors this holiday season.
Despite losing his own job and struggling to make ends meet at his Rhema Revealed Worship Center, Pastor Jones took what he did have and gave it to others.
For the last 17 days, he has randomly handed out $100 to someone in the community. He calls it ’31 Days of Giving.’ The gift for him has come from those handed the envelope, like one young mother earlier this week.
“When we told her we came to bless her, tears just came running down her face with excitement and her two children were there to witness it and we were just glad to be a blessing to her,” Jones said.
Rhema Revealed’s Facebook page can be visited here.
New Trier High School seniors also wanted to be active in the spirit of giving, banding together with local restaurants to raise money for Lake County’s Habitat for Humanity as part of their senior service project.
This entire week, 13 different local restaurants are donating a portion of their sales to help Habitat for Humanity build homes and other forms of housing for those in need.
Below are the restaurants participating in the cause:
Friday, Dec. 18:
- Taco Nano, 1743 Orchard Lane, Northfield, IL (Mention New Trier Habitat)
- Convito Café, 1515 Sheridan Road, Wilmette, IL (Mention NT Habitat)
Saturday, Dec. 19:
- Pescadero, 1167 Wilmette Avenue, Wilmette, IL (5-7 p.m., dine-in & to-go only, mention NT Habitat)
Sunday, Dec. 20:
- Depot Nuevo, 1139 Wilmette Avenue, Wilmette, IL (4:30-8 p.m., mention NT Habitat)
- The Noodle, 1708 12th Street, Wilmette, IL (4:30-8 p.m., mention NT habitat)
Fairview Elementary School in Mount Prospect has found a unique way to reach their students over a much different winter break.
The school transformed dozens of classroom windows into giant recreations of the classic children’s book, ‘The Snowy Day’ by Ezra Jack Keats.
The story depicting a young boy exploring his neighborhood after the first snowfall can also be heard by tuning into 89.7 FM through the holiday break.
Finally, twin sisters preparing to close the doors of their antique shop in La Grange after dozens of years are attracting plenty of attention for the store’s unique offerings.
The landmark store is known for the crowd of classic blow mold Christmas decorations surrounding the shop has been extra busy in recent weeks as the store prepares to close.
Cindy and Kim Sanders, the owners, say they’ve been overwhelmed with people desperate to get their hands on some of the store’s beloved decorations.
To see more of the collection, visit their Facebook page here.