Help North Suburban YMCA fill Blessing Bags Dec. 3

  • Shannon Sliwinski and Sean Fielding pack Blessing Bags at the 2021 Holiday Giveback.

    Shannon Sliwinski and Sean Fielding pack Blessing Bags at the 2021 Holiday Giveback. Courtesy of North Suburban YMCA

Updated 12/1/2022 9:07 AM

The North Suburban YMCA's Social Responsibility Committee has kicked off its annual Holiday Giveback Drive and subsequent Packing Event.

During November, the Y has been collecting essential items for Blessing Bags to donate to people experiencing homelessness, and is hosting a volunteer event from noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, where volunteers will be packing the items into bags.


The Blessing Bags will be distributed by Project I Am, a nonprofit organization that distributes essentials to people experiencing homelessness.

To fill each Blessing Bag, the NSYMCA is asking for donations of baby wipes, mini-bottled waters, pairs of socks, Neosporin packets, travel-size Vaseline, toothbrush, toothpaste, alcohol wipes, band-aids, travel-sized shampoo and conditioner, washcloths, pocket tissues, granola bars or trail mix, and peppermints.

All donations can be dropped off at the Y's front desk through Friday, Dec. 9. Monetary donations are also accepted; the Y staff will shop for the needed items. The NSYMCA's goal for 2022 is to have 250 or more Blessing Bags.

"Our annual Holiday Giveback event makes a huge difference in the lives of the less fortunate, and unites us in our shared humanity," said Jerry Nolan, a two-year committee member of the NSYMCA Social Responsibility committee.

"I am honored to be part of this organization and the social responsibility arm of its mission. I have seen firsthand how much these events and donations impact and help people experiencing the hardship of homelessness."

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Earlier this month, the Y collected leftover Halloween candy and donated it to the Kids Pantry in Mount Prospect, Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook, Souper Saturday Soup Kitchen in Evanston, and C24/7 in Chicago.

In addition, the Y is collecting children's coats, gloves, hats and undergarments for local school nurse stations in the Great Lakes and Wheeling school districts. Through its partnerships, the Y's Social Responsibility Committee learned that many children come to school without warm necessities needed during the cold winter months of school.

Having a plethora of warm items in a school nurse's office ensures that every child has warm items for walking to school and going to recess

"Not one child should ever worry about how to stay warm when walking to school or being on the playground, so our Y took action with this donation drive and plan to help every year," said Karen Brownlee, the Y's Social Responsibility chairwoman.

"Even though our Y is a nonprofit ourselves, our mission is to help other nonprofits in our community, making sure we do our part to strengthen families and communities."

For information about the Blessing Bag packing day, or to volunteer or make a donation, visit or call (847) 272-7250.