When The Night Ministry relocated its headquarters to Bucktown in summer 2020, the agency gained a generous neighbor in the Jonathan Burr Elementary School, whose students have made a habit of giving back.
"Last year we were able to do a whole school food drive to help support The Night Ministry in the spring," said Middle School teacher Sarah Crawford. The school has also participated in this year's holiday preparations and looks forward to further service projects next year.
Drives are organized by the school's National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), a program which promotes scholarship, service, and more. The Night Ministry recently spoke with three members - Alice, Bodhi, and Ruby – to learn what the students thought about giving back to their community.
Who are you and what's one fun fact about you?
Alice (center): Hello, my name is Alice and I'm the President of NJHS. I love to digitally draw and my favorite video game is Animal Crossing.
Bodhi (right): Hi, my name is Bodhi. I'm one of the NJHS vice presidents, and I have played soccer since I was 3 years old.
Ruby (left): Hi, my name is Ruby, I'm one of the vice presidents of the Burr Elementary NJHS chapter, and I love to play guitar.
How do you support The Night Ministry?
Students: As a school, we support The Night Ministry by running food and supply drives. This helps all of the homeless or transient citizens living in Chicago have a higher quality of life, while also helping to restore their dignity. We can't wait to continue to partner with them for more hands-on and in person experiences in the future.
Why does supporting Chicagoans experiencing homelessness and poverty matter to you?
Students: Supporting homeless Chicagoans is important to us because we have a lot of pride in our city, and we have pride in the people. We want to make a difference among our fellow citizens. Many homeless people struggle with hunger and lack of supplies, which The Night Ministry works to prevent. We believe that nobody should have to wonder where they will get their next meal. This is why supporting The Night Ministry is so important to us.
What would you say to someone considering supporting The Night Ministry?
Students: We would say that you should definitely give as much support as you can. The Night Ministry does amazing things for teens and young adults living in Chicago. Teenagers and young adults struggle through so much already, and any help you can provide makes more of an impact than you think. Each and every donation can help change people's lives.
The Night Ministry works with schools like Burr, organizations, community groups, and more, strengthening community bonds and building partnerships that benefit all – including those who volunteer.
Crawford has found that to be true when it comes to Jonathan Burr Elementary. "Our students are very passionate about giving back to the community and this partnership has allowed them to make a difference right in our Burr 'backyard.' It has been such a rewarding experience for the whole school community!" she said.