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About care-bags.org…

Care-Bags.org is a site dedicated to the ongoing creation and delivery of care bags for the homeless people in Logan Square, Chicago. The care bags are a vehicle for better understanding and sharing with the homeless of our community. This site is a resource for those wanting to understand, make their own care bags, Information about assistance in the Chicago community as well as weekly updates, video interviews with the homeless and much more.

Click here for a recent television interview with Aly Bockler and Bud’s heartfelt radio interview on WBEZ.

Upcoming Events you can be a part of!!

 Winter Wear Drive at the Hideout Bar, Chicago, IL, Wednesday, December 17th, 2014, 6:00-8:00pm

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Care-bags.org and The Hideout are hosting a winter wear clothing drive to benefit the homeless and those in need in the Chicago area. New or gently used items to be donated include men’s, women’s and children’s coats, hats, scarves, gloves/mittens, thermal wear, hand warmers, boots, knit/handmade items, blankets, sweatshirts and hoodies and gift cards to Target or Costco. Event takes place Wednesday, December 17th from 6:00-8:00pm at The hideout. Leftover clothing will be given to a great organization I’ve gotten close with over the years, CSC is now Revive Center for Housing and Healing. They have a realistic approach to ending homelessness and these clothes will benefit them well.

 Winter Wear Drive at Brunzies Bar, Indiana, PA, Sunday, December 21th, 2014, 6:00-9:00pm

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My Hometown, Indiana, PA Winter Clothing Drive for Care-bags.org hosted by Brunzies Bar. Save the date and share! December 21th, 6:00-9:00pm
Care-bags.org and Brunzies are hosting a winter wear clothing drive to benefit Indiana’s homeless as well as those in need in the Chicago area. Most of the items collected are donated to Pathway in Blacklick, PA as well as other local charitable organizations, like The Chevy Chase Center, Indiana, PA. Now’s the time to organize your friends, coworkers and family to gather as many warm clothes as possible for those that need them the most. New or gently used items to be donated include men’s, women’s and children’s coats, hats, scarves, gloves/mittens, thermal wear, hand warmers, boots, knit/handmade items, blankets, sweatshirts and hoodies, Target or Costco Gift cards as well. Event takes place Sunday, December 21st from 6:00-9:00pm. I hope to see old friends and new.

iPod donations:

Music, a huge part of our emotional lives, can take us away to other places and uplift us when we need it most. Many studies have shown, Music is an integral part of our overall health and well being. It has a potent effect on our psyche. Smartphones are taking the place of our old iPods, making them obsolete. If any of you have an old, working iPod and want to donate it to a homeless person, you can do so by sending them directly to me, Gene Pellegrene at P.O. Box 479304, Chicago, IL 60647 or bring it to one of the Winter Wear Drives taking place in December. You can breathe new life into your former mp3 player and bring someone great joy. Please include the charging cord and any manuals. You can leave the songs on the devise or reset to factory settings, I will then reload the mp3 players with the recipients favorite songs or genre.

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Origins:

Making care bags for the homeless started in April of 2013.  I had some clothing I wanted to donate to local homeless in my neighborhood.  While organizing the clothing, I decided to include water, clif bars and some other items around my home.  I began to devote thought to what I personally would need if I was living homeless.  That process created a lot of empathy and understanding which transcends into other areas of life. Since the beginning, many clothing/knitting drives have been organized, hundreds of care bags have been made, discussions/organizing efforts at local schools and businesses and many people have made their own care bags to deliver in their communities.  In November, 2013, my efforts along with the tremendous support of my community and friends,  awarded me the inaugural LaVerne Gage Award by The ReVive Center for Housing and Healing.       

The care packages contain variations of the following and are made and delivered every weekend, bottles of water, gatorade, nutritional drink, wet wipes, tissues, antacid tablets, notebooks, pens, deodorant, vitamins, first aid, medicated powder, chapstick, sunscreen, zip-loc bags, fresh fruit, gum, peanut butter sandwich crackers,  granola bars, sweet and salty nut bars, nutrigrain bar, sun chips, gogo squeez applesauce packet, larabars, clif bars, slim jims/beef jerky, luna bars, candy bar, nuts, trail mix and a packet of various homeless shelters and resources in the city, address, numbers and services they provide. The black canvas bags are generously donated by Strack & Van Til of Logan Square, Chicago.  For assistance making your own care bags, follow this link.

Video interviews are an important part of shedding light on the struggles of the homeless.  I have learned so much about these people, my community and myself.  I am developing relationships with these men and woman and in turn sharing my experiences that wouldn’t have been possible without the vehicle of the care bags.  I urge people that live where homelessness is present to create care bags for themselves and experience the positive effects on the recipients but most of all to themselves.  There are many ways you can help lessen the struggle of the homeless.  You can create your own care bags, donate to this cause or just asking a homeless person their name does more than you could ever imagine.  Big thanks To Anthony Sutton, S X Tech, Inc., for donating this site.