Turning trash into treasure: New Eastsiders give back
by Stephanie Racine
What started out as a regifting event turned into something much more.
In December, a group of Parkshore residents had an idea. Resident Jonni Miklos and social director of the Parkshore, Charlene Roderick, met to discuss how to give back for the holiday season. Miklos noted that people who moved from the suburbs to the Parkshore, 195 N. Harbor Drive, had a lot of stuff, but less room to store it in a downtown Chicago condo.
“Someone’s trash is somebody else’s treasure,” Roderick said.
From Dec. 4-7, Parkshore residents brought down items they no longer needed for others to purchase.
“People brought things out in droves,” Roderick said.
All the proceeds went to The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
Roderick and Miklos were hoping about $2,020 but Parkshore residents raised $6,146.
“I cried when I saw it was [that much],” Roderick said.
Residents said the event went beyond the money being raised—it gave residents a sense of community.
“People were talking about this building coming together,” resident Russ Fahrner said.
It was more than just getting together for a glass of wine—it was staying engaged with one another over the course of a few days, he said.
Resident Barbara Thomas felt the residents came together as a team.
“Together each accomplishes more…Team,” she said. “I felt as if I had a family of people who cared.”
Residents did everything they could to support the event, according to Roderick. If they didn’t have items to donate, there was a box for monetary donations. If they were unable to donate, residents volunteered their time to work the event.
Miklos believed people were so enthusiastic because the event was supporting a greater good.
“Everyone was committed to contributing to make a difference,” Miklos said.
One person who was especially thankful was executive director of Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Doug Schenkelberg.
“We appreciate it when people choose to support our work,” Schenkelberg said.
Schenkelberg was unaware the money was being raised and thought it was “wonderful” that Parkshore chose his organization. Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is an advocacy organization that seeks to prevent homelessness. Approximately 86,000 people are homeless in Chicago.
Members of the Parkshore Board met to present Schenkelberg with their check on Jan. 24. Roderick thanked the board for their willingness to come together as a community.
Overall, residents hoped that this event would start a precedent.
“Other buildings ought to take this on,” Roderick said.
To learn more about Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, visit chicagohomeless.org.