2022 End of Year Update
Published on December 21, 2022 by HP Solidarity Network
In 2022, Humboldt Park Solidarity Network maintained the Casa Hernandez Community Space & Free Store for the entire year, which means we have been able to support our community for 18 months since we started operating. Each week, the free store was open on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday for 2 to 3 hours. On average, 30 people came through our doors each day we were open. Several “regulars” became volunteers during this year, and we met many new neighbors as word continues to spread.
Regular events at Casa Hernandez included weekly Spanish/English language exchange sessions in the summer, weekly kids’ after-school art classes taught by CPS teacher Tiffani Kuhn, weekly New Era Young Lords community meetings, and monthly HPSN Open House/Community Meetings to welcome new volunteers and neighbors. Like the free store, all of these events were free!
Additionally, HPSN had the opportunity to:
- Throw art shows for students of the free kids’ art classes to show off their paintings and invite their families
- Share the space with local artist collectives for art exhibitions that help fundraise for HPSN
- Organize a Día de las Reinas food and toy giveaway event in January, in partnership with Blocks Together and Lolita Productions
- Host a free COVID rapid testing event in January, in partnership with Frost Medical
- Fundraise to help neighbors get city boots removed from their cars during a snowstorm in February
- Partner with The Saddle on a clothing donation drive in February
- Partner with Batasole on a sneaker donation drive in March
- Organize a Bienvenidos Fest hot meal giveaway in November
- Host a benefit concert with local musicians in December
None of this could have been possible without your support!
The funds you all donated paid for:
- Restocking the shelves of the free store (dairy, eggs, hygiene products and diapers, especially)
- Art supplies for the free kids’ after-school art classes
- Hot food to give away at events
- Specially requested items to assist houseless neighbors
- Rent and utility bills for Casa Hernandez
2022 Challenges & Growth
Some of the challenges HPSN faced in 2022 were low volunteer numbers and low stock on items in the free store. So, we greatly appreciated the times you came through to donate items low in stock, or lend a hand in staffing the free store!
(You can drop off donations or come help at the free store Mondays & Wednesdays 5-7pm and Saturdays 11am-2pm, at 3519 W North Ave)
Neighbors who joined us this year led towards positive growth for HPSN. We moved our group chat from Slack to WhatsApp to make it more accessible, and volunteers who only know English made a more intentional effort to practice Spanish at Casa Hernandez—-including the language exchange sessions.
(Want to be added to our WhatsApp group chat? Send us an email at [email protected] with your name and phone number!)
What’s in the works for 2023?
Other than continuing to run the Casa Hernandez free store and events, we hope to find more ways to connect with each other and the community. While our monthly community meetings have paused for the holidays, we want to resume them and expand into hosting virtual meetings in between. (Not everyone who wants to participate can physically make it!)
We are always seeking partners for a variety of events. Each year, we meet more people who want to use our space for art exhibitions, collaborate on an activity that brings people together or have an idea about how to support community members that could use a hand.
Have questions, feedback, or ideas on how to support the Humboldt Park community? Please reach out!
Thank you for all your support in 2022! 🎉