Welcome to Patch Picks, which highlights editor and reader picks of great local businesses, destinations, services, organizations, ways to spend a day off, and more.
You’ll find useful lists to help you, your family, friends, and significant others find the best places for everything from Sunday brunch to New Year’s Eve celebrations, pumpkin patches, date night destinations, florists, girlfriend nights out, kids party places, parks and more.
Our latest Patch Picks installment is Non-Profits Making a Difference.
There are so many in the area that it is hard to pick five, but if you're looking for worthy causes where you might donate money or time, here's a few places to start.
It may surprise you, but the Niles Township Food Pantry serves more than 2,200 people and more than 1,100 households in the Skokie, Niles and Morton Grove area per month. The team of workers at the food pantry are constantly filling bags with quality non-perishables and other food items.
The pantry recently completed its relocation to the Annex Building behind the Niles Township Government Building. The new home, located at 5255 Main - Annex in Skokie, near the Lincoln/Main fork, is always busy, with an increase in demand around the holidays. Two moms in the Morton Grove Patch's Mom Council organized a fundraiser for the food pantry during the holiday season in 2010.
Like its neighbor, the Maine Township Food Pantry also helps those in need of everyday food. The pantry's roots began in 1981, when the group distributed 15 food baskets during the Christmas season. Since then, the organization has grown exponentially, feeding more than 300 individuals a month.
For the past six years, Maine Township has provided the communities of Des Plaines, Morton Grove, Niles, Rosemont, Glenview and Park Ridge with a central location to sell and donate goods once a year.
The group holds a yearly community garage sale, which attracted more than 1,000 people on its first day in 2010.
Based in Skokie and established as a mental health center in 1969, Turning Point has grown to become a large organization serving patients throughout the metropolitan Chicago area. Turning Point is an outpatient mental health center that exists to provide relief, no matter who or what the situation might be.
In July 2010, Turning Point showcased an art piece that featured more than 300 postcards that read like cathartic confessions, expressions of joy and empowerment at the North Shore Festival of Arts in Old Orchard.
While the group is undergoing some changes, the staff is working to meet the needs of their clients. For more information about Turning Point, click here.
One of the often-cited truths of economic recession is that just as the need for philanthropy goes up, donors' pockets get tighter.
The Morton Grove Foundation, a local 501(c)3 non-profit, is doing its best to resist this trend, encouraging Morton Grove citizens and businesses to invest in the less fortunate even in an unfortunate economic climate.
Perhaps best known for their yearly Taste fair, the Morton Grove Foundation receives donations from local residents and then donates that money to local organizations that are most in need.
The Niles Township High School Education Foundation is also a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The foundation's purpose is to "enrich education for Niles Township High School students by providing additional resources, outside the scope of the regular district budget," according to their website.
Recently, the group held the first ever "Pizza Wars," where local restaurants competed to win bragging rights for best pizza in town. Skokie Patch's mom columnist, Traci Lee-Larson, is also a member of the non-profit group.
To learn more about the District 219 Education Foundation, click here.