by Ali Kelley and Brittany Martin Graunke | Art by Benjamin Goodman
It’s easy to get caught up in the insanity of the season: Slashed prices, midnight sales, and seemingly endless lists of people to buy for. Christmastime can have the effect of turning our city into a veritable zoo. And to that, we say no thank you (we already have two zoos). So this year we’re intent on celebrating Christmas our way—and that includes a healthy dose of giving back. To that end, we called in the big-hearted crew at Zealous Good, a Chicago group dedicated to connecting people and their stuff to the charities that need them. Here’s their plan for spreading the holiday cheer this season:


The benefits of volunteering are endless. Donating your time is a great way to get involved in your community, bring fulfillment to your life, and stay mentally and physically healthy. A simple but powerful way to volunteer is to tutor or mentor. And while December is a busy time of year to donate time, it is a great month to sign up or inquire about volunteer opportunities in the coming year. A little prep now will start your new year off on the right foot.

Listed below are just a few of the many Chicagoland nonprofits in need of tutors/mentors:

Cabrini Connections
Esperanza Community Services
Chicago Adventure Therapy

Donate Food

According to the Greater Chicago Food Depository 1 in 6 Chicagoans are uncertain where they will find their next meal. Help provide food security to someone in your community by donating to one of these nonprofit organizations:

GreenHeart Shop: Fair trade store. For every food item donated you get 1% off purchase
Common Pantry
Lakeview Pantry
St. Columbanus

Purchase Gifts that Give Back

Give a gift that tells a story. Select a work of art or bag of coffee from these local organizations that support individuals with disabilities:

Urban Art Retreat Center
Aspire CoffeeWorks
Little City cards
Arts of Life 2013 Calendar
Project Onward art

Zealous Good knows Chicago charities. The good people at this philanthropic company spend their days connecting people to area nonprofits to facilitate in-kind donations. Have something of value you'd like to unload? Zealous Good will do the legwork for you, finding the right charity to put your donation to good use. Learn more about Zealous Good and how they, in their own words, help 'your goods do great': visit their website, or connect on Facebook or Twitter