When the COVID-19 crisis began, cleaning supplies, toilet paper and hand sanitizer were the first items to disappear from store shelves, and manufacturers struggled to keep pace with frenzied demand. Chemcraft Industries recognized a unique opportunity to give back, sparking a year of giving that has reinforced our ties with the community and enabled us to support critical work changing the lives of Chicagoans.
Early on in the pandemic, when hand sanitizer was sold out all over the world, we were fortunate to have sourced a great sanitizer for our customers. The response we got when able to supply people with this simple product was incredible, and we decided then to begin donating a portion of proceeds from the sale of COVID-19 sensitive items to different causes fighting the virus.
In April, we connected with The ARK Chicago, a non-profit that provides social services, health and pharmacy services, food pantries, interim housing and more to 4,000 people in the Chicagoland Jewish Community. Soon after, we were able to support the work of San Lucas United Church of Christ, which offers many services and community outreach. When we considered the vulnerability of students whose schools suddenly closed, we donated to Elyssa’s Mission. This community-based organization provides resources to help prevent teen suicide. We pitched in to help pet facilities and animal shelters responding to unprecedented numbers of surrenders as people faced new financial struggles. We supported the work of grassroots clean-up efforts following this summer’s protests, providing garbage bags, work gloves, shovels and brooms to neighborhoods with few resources. Every crisis facing our community also revealed an opportunity to help.
Nothing about this year has been normal, and we feel so fortunate that our customers have been loyal to us through it all, sticking by us during every challenge along the way. Not being able to thank you face-to-face during the holiday season is especially hard, but we know one of the most powerful ways we can show our gratitude is to continue supporting the work of organizations fighting against COVID-19 and its lasting effects to our community.
Food insecurity is an issue close to our Vice President Michelle Munvez’s heart. “In my own family situation, I’ve felt very connected to sitting around the table having dinner and feeling full in life and also having a full belly,” she reflects. The COVID crisis has left millions of people without that fullness for the first time.
Chemcraft’s donation to the Greater Chicago Food Depository will help feed and support thousands of Chicagoans facing increased financial burdens, less income and more food insecurity. Acting as the hub for a network of more than 700 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other programs, the GCFD provides food where its most needed while also addressing the root causes of hunger.
While we’ve all felt the impact of the pandemic, our homeless community members have perhaps felt it most. Homeless people often are in poorer health, and widespread closures means lost access to services providing life-saving shelter, food and water. Seeing homeless people in her own community drove Michelle to begin researching resources in Chicago and understanding that “because of COVID, there are lots of layers of problems” uniquely affecting the homeless population.
The Night Ministry compassionately provides housing, health care, outreach, spiritual care and social services to adults and youth who struggle with homelessness, poverty and loneliness. They’ve been doing this hope-filled hard work since 1976, and we are grateful to be able to support it on behalf of our customers through Chemcraft’s donations this holiday season.
It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of COVID-19, but as anxiety and fear have spread, so have good deeds. “There’s so much uncertainty for us and our customers, but regardless of those concerns and worries,” says Michelle, “being able to give back has kept us going.”
We are honored to be part of a community finding ways to give back and lending support to those who need it most during this unprecedented year. We look forward to continuing that mission together in 2021.