Billed as “spring cleaning in the fall,” The Volunteer Center’s annual Make A Difference Day will be collecting a plethora of donated items from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Oct. 24, at Wilmette Junior High, 620 Locust Road.
This year, the collection drive will be contactless to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has also impacted the importance of collection drives of all kinds, as the recession has affected many Chicagoland households.
“Nonprofits need this stuff because their clients really need it,” said Barb Tubekis, The Volunter Center’s executive director. “This year in particular because people couldn’t go into their nonprofits.”
The drive benefits 15 area nonprofits that need everything from clothes and books to baby items (diapers, formula, etc.) and pet supplies. A full list of items can be found on the Volunteer Center’s website.
While all donations are important, Tubekis took time to mention food items for groups like the New Trier Township Food Pantry, as usage is way up while donations are limited because a lack of events and drives.
“Food insecurity is a huge issue,” she said. “… New Trier Township Food Pantry has a really big need.”
Most years, Make A Difference Day partners with Wilmette District 39 and specifically Highcrest Middle School in advance of the collection drive. But in 2020, the students could not canvas neighborhoods for donations or collect and sort them.
The Volunteer Center, which is based in Winnetka, requests that donations be separated and labeled with the name of the nonprofit in advance to limit contact during the sorting process.
Donors are also asked to wear masks and bring their donations to the drop-off location where volunteers will remove the items from the cars. Donors should not get out of their car, other than to open their trunk.
Some nonprofits supported by Make A Difference Day are: Books4Cause out of Skokie, the Childcare Network of Evanston, Counseling Center for the North Shore, Orphans of the Storm in Riverwoods and Working Bikes in Chicago.
“The (Volunteer Center) is grateful to be working with the Highcrest/WJHS PTO to help with the new site for the day’s event as well as provide volunteers to help manage the event with the VC Board members,” it says in a release from the center.