Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Give to The Night Ministry

Jeff Ayoub, of The Night Ministry, talks to a man sleeping on Lower Wacker Drive last Christmas.

     Ideally, you wouldn't be giving money to The Night Ministry today.
     Even though today is "Giving Tuesday," a day designated by those who care about such things full time to encourage we who rarely give these life-and-death matters a second thought to pause from our lavish and blessed lives, pause between the Feast Extravaganza and the Carnival of Gifts and remember those with nearly nothing. To extend a hand to people facing problems that on their best day dwarf ours on our worst.
     You wouldn't be giving today because, again ideally, you wouldn't have to. You'd already be giving throughout the year, either to The Night Ministry, and organizations like it, whether through money or, more valuably, through your time and efforts.
     Though really, there are no other organizations like The Night Ministry, the last threadbare safety net between thousands of Chicagoans and the abyss of homelessness, addiction, mental illness, despair and death. 
    There are other things besides money. You could, for instance, prepare a few score meals to be handed out at one of the stops of the Night Ministry's health care bus during its nightly rounds, and then show up at the appointed hour and distribute them. You could help pull off their big annual fundraising dinner or hit up prominent individuals to lend a hand. I've done all that—on certain sporadic occasions, I don't want to give the impression I'm a less selfish person than I actually am—and it feels great.
     But in a pinch, digging into your pocket will do. I''ve done that too, mostly recently on Monday, just to show how easily and painlessly it can be done. You go to the web site here.  I timed it—four minutes flat, from start to finish. Nobody is too busy to spare four minutes. The Night Ministry gives you a receipt for your records. 
     Plus a certain charitable Chicago supporter has pledged $25,000 in matching donations for Giving Tuesday—meaning every dollar you give will be doubled. So dig deep. 
     Or not so deep. Whatever you are comfortable with giving. I'll never miss the money I gave to The Night Ministry. But the person who gets my $50, maybe in the form of a care package of life's essentials, or a visit from the bus, or an asthma inhaler, or a sandwich handed over by a wide-eyed suburban volunteer  they corralled to help out, someone like my son below, will benefit enormously.



  1. Got with them via you, here, last year about this time and it's a great feeling to give. And it's great when you can turn others onto helping them, too.

  2. Laudable prodding, Neil. We all need the occasional reminder. I'll be making a donation this morning.

  3. My problem with appeals for money, even those as eloquent as Neil's, is that I've become inured to saying, "No." Every day the post office brings several, which once recognized go unopened directly to the recycling bin. The Internet brings me a dozen or so, which I delete as rapidly as I can. And I also receive daily phone calls from Smiletrain and the like. No, No, No, and NOOOOO. I get all these offers to help pave my way to heaven because I've given something to somebody in the past and to be honest every once in a while, I reluctantly write a check to whichever outfit has last sent me a lifetime supply of labels. But basically this incessant dunning has Grinched my giving heart and made me suspicious of even the most worthy of the needy. That said, I'll go check out that website.


  4. As you know Neil I use the occasion of my birthday to give to charitable causes in honor of my friends and those whose work I find enriches my life ( a certain columnist just might have made my list this year �� ) I get great pleasure out of giving this way. Even more than I imagined when I began this tradition. And I get to be made aware of worthy causes like The Night Ministry whose great work I would otherwise have been unaware of

  5. Starting a couple months ago Every time I go to the bank to get cash I get a hundred ones. I give one to every person that asks . You know like at stop lights. I never had given money to spare changers before ever .never ever. I always felt like I was contributing to a stranger's bad behavior. The Pope said that I was mistaken. I've always given to organizations and had that I'm not sure they use the money right feeling . Since I started giving dollyolars directly to people I feel very liberated.even living and working in the city it usually takes nearly a month to pass out a hundred bucks. That Pope I like his attitude.


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.