Mid-pandemic, two Latinas from Chicago’s West side joined forces to create an emerging nonprofit, Chicago Blessings, to positively impact the lives of more than 100 homeless in Black and Brown communities.
What started out as giving Thanksgiving meals to the homeless, grew to creating bags of toiletries for them.
Co-founders Devyn Guzman, a teacher who works with children who have autism, and Imani Farfan, an entrepreneur, were amazed to see the power of promoting the cause on social media allowed them to collect donations via CashApp ($project4chicagosown) to make essential bags to hand out on the city’s South and West sides in November.
Their most recent project, “Warming Hearts,” collected dozens of bags to help the homeless survive Chicago’s harsh February weather. The bags included new and gently used sweaters, hats and toiletries.
An estimated 76,998 people experienced homelessness in Chicago, according to recent data by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
This mission behind Chicago Blessings is to aid the communities by showing them how through joined forces “you can pay it forward, spread kindness and be a blessing to all,” said 25-year-old Guzman.
The organization hopes to expand to hosting neighborhood cookouts, providing back-to-school bags, volunteering in recovery homes for drug addicts and much more.
It also creates social media challenges to spread acts of kindness for those not in Chicago.
“When my uncle passed away in 2020, I felt something inside of me that wanted to do more and venture off from my typical career path,” said 25-year-old Farfan in regards to the push to create the non-profit.
Guzman always had a deep care for community work, but the push from Farfan, a longtime friend, to join forces encouraged her to bring her dreams to life.