Shake, Shake, Shake the Can for ALS

The ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter hosted a few ALS events in December – Shake the Can at Union Station and gift wrapping at Eataly.  I had so much fun volunteering at both of these functions.

Shake the Can was an incredible event. Volunteers from across the Chicagoland area stood around Union Station and shook a can to collect donations from commuters. There were two shifts – 6:30 to 9:30am and 2 to 6pm. I had to miss the first shift because of schoolwork, but arrived shortly afterwards. During the time between shifts, I sat with the Chicago ALS Association at a table in the Great Hall. We had information about ALS/MND and the Chicago Chapter displayed and a box where commuters could place donations. A Chapter friend played the piano during this time. He was so wonderful and very talented. His beautiful music made everyone so cheerful!

The second shift usually starts at 3pm, but this year it was moved to 2pm. Traffic was really slow during the first hour, but the pace quickly picked up by 3. During the next few hours, a few thousand people passed through the doors of Union Station on their way to the trains. People were so generous; some even took the time to dig into their pockets for loose change. It does not matter if it is a penny or a $100 bill – everything makes a difference! There were also a few children helping shake the can. I love seeing young children take part in the fight against ALS/MND. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped out and the commuters who donated. We raised approximately $4,000 from Shake the Can!

The gift wrapping drive at Eataly was held the day after Shake the Can. Eataly is a gorgeous Italian food market/restaurant in Chicago. The volunteers stood near the checkout lines and wrapped gifts after people paid for them. People could give donations for their wrapped gifts. Two of the volunteers were absolutely spectacular at gift wrapping. My partner and I, on the other hand, were struggling a bit.  I do not wrap presents very often, so I was not very good at the wrapping portion. I was, however, great at the ribbons and bows. We even had the opportunity to wrap a triangle block of cheese. Wrapping it was a cinch, but trying to tie a ribbon around it was anything but easy! I think a few people were slightly disappointed we were not professional gift wrappers, but we tried our best. The gift wrapping went from 12-8pm in 2 hour shifts; I did the shift from 12-2. I was so engrossed in the wrapping that before I knew it, the shift was over.

I had a blast shaking the can, wrapping gifts, and making new friends! Thank you so much to Union Station and Eataly for letting us shake the can and gift wrap. Working with the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter is an honor! I am looking forward to these events next year.

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