At Candor Threads, our community is important to us. That’s why showing up for and giving back to our hometown Chicago is vital to our core values. This year has had its ups and downs for everyone, but we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to pitch in alongside our incredible community partners. So as we look forward to another year of working with our local community, we also want to look back and reflect on the amazing work of these great organizations.
2020 Candor Threads Cares Initiatives
Feeding the Frontlines
At the beginning of the pandemic, when we were all overwhelmed by the new and very uncertain state of things, we knew we wanted to do something to support our Chicago frontline as they worked tirelessly to save lives. In a truly all-hands effort, we teamed up with Chicago restaurants and Candor Threads customers from across the US to deliver delicious meals to our nurses, doctors, firefighters, and police.
The plan was simple: customers purchased Chicago-themed face masks, shirts, and scarves and the net proceeds went to our restaurant partners who made hearty and tasty food we then delivered right to the frontline. Thanks to customers, donors, and Fat Shallot, La Cocinita, Noodles Inc, Meson Taqueria, Brix Catering, Amazing Edibles, Courageous Bakery, and Original Pizza Puffs, we raised $13,000 and donated 900 meals during the first months of the pandemic.
But the real thanks go to the folks we were fortunate enough to meet through this project – the men and women of Engine 91 Fire Station, Prentice Women’s Hospital, Mitchell Hospital, Rush University Medical Hospital ICU, CPD 11th and 9th Districts, Comer Children’s Hospital, The Selfhelp Home, Lawndale Christian Health Center, Premier Health Clinic Urgent Care, Chicago VA Hospital, and Advocate Health Christ Medical Center.
Masks for Change
Through our Masks for Change design contest, we got a chance to work with youth from across the country to make a difference through their creativity and vision for just communities. To participate, we asked students in kindergarten through 8th grade to create a design for a face mask that expressed what anti-racism means to them. We then selected three winners who were awarded 250 custom masks featuring their own design to share with classmates and faculty.
It was remarkable to see the passion and skill in the dozens of submissions we received. And it was an honor to help spread these youth’s message by emblazoning it on masks so it can be front and center every day and everywhere they wear it.
Buy One Give One
Throughout the year we also partnered with organizations providing essential services to our vulnerable and underserved neighbors here in Chicago, as well as in New Orleans and New York City. We recognized an ongoing need for quality fabric face masks, so we introduced our Buy One Give One program. We were able to donate over 1,300 masks to groups like Chicago Parks District, PPE4NYC, and Cornerstone Community Outreach.
Through this initiative, we had the opportunity to see firsthand the important work these groups do. YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, for example, received 200 masks and provides a wide range of critical services – from running the city’s rape crisis hotline to offering economic empowerment services, a women’s health exchange, and youth programming.
Another organization we partnered with, Chicago Methodist Senior Services, is committed to supporting the needs of older adults in our community. With a donation of 300 masks, we hoped to do our small part to help them as they provide home care, supportive living services, affordable housing, and meaningful connection to the community for our elder neighbors.
For Halloween, we headed back to Cornerstone Community Outreach with goodie bags and snacks in tow for the kids staying in their shelter. As we got to know their staff and the folks they serve, we couldn’t help but be inspired by the scope and responsiveness of their services.
With the mission to provide shelter and find homes for families and individuals who are at the greatest risk of being excluded from necessary services, CCO is leaving no neighbor behind. In addition to their shelter services, they also offer food and essential clothing and household items for any community member who needs it. For shelter residents, they have access to case management, nursing visits, mental health counseling, parenting and life-skills classes, and an afterschool program. The breadth of their services is truly impressive.
For many high school seniors, the uncertainty of 2020 has marred what should be a celebration of their bright futures. But one organization, the North Chicago Public Education Foundation, is doing what they can to combat that uncertainty and replace it with support these students can count on.
We were proud to work with North Chicago District 187 to donate $15,600 to NCPF as they provide full scholarships to a select group of high school graduates attending the College of Lake County. The scholarship not only provides full tuition for four semesters, but it also covers books, laptop, living and travel stipends, and academic coaching provided by the college.
These amazing organizations are what make our communities thrive. And they are always looking for other community partners to help them achieve their missions and reach even further. So keep your eye on these groups and the work they do, pitch in if you can, and stay tuned for our future initiatives for more opportunities to get involved.
Candor Threads is a Chicago-based, family-owned custom apparel company that has been providing ties, scarves, shirts, masks, and more for over 38 years. Visit our website to learn more about how we are getting involved in our community and how you can help!