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(WTTW News)

As the spread of COVID-19 sparked restrictions and closures across the U.S. a year ago, organizations serving the homeless were forced to balance their work with the goal of keeping staff members safe. Here’s how some Chicago providers have handled the pandemic — and how they’re dealing with the latest set of challenges.

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Ada McKinley (Courtesy Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc.)

A Chicago-based community organization established more than 100 years ago serves more than 7,000 people annually, but the story of its founder has largely been erased. 

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A man walks past a “Now Hiring” sign on a window at Sherwin Williams store, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Woodmere Village, Ohio. (AP Photo / Tony Dejak)

With the floodgates set to open on another round of unemployment aid, states are being hammered with a new wave of fraud as they scramble to update security systems and block scammers who already have siphoned billions of dollars from pandemic-related jobless programs.

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(Jasmine Lin / Pixabay)

Children who would have received free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program if their schools were not closed or operating with reduced hours are eligible for the benefits.

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Volunteering looks different during the pandemic, but organizations still need support. (Courtesy of Northwest Side Solidarity Network)

Volunteering looks different during the pandemic, but organizations still need support. The Chicago Volunteer Expo is moving forward with its annual event, where people can learn about opportunities at scores of nonprofits, but has shifted to a virtual platform.

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Denise Gonzalez-Mendez (WTTW News)

The Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program has been making matches in Chicago since 1967, but a lot has changed over the years. Many of the kids now come from Spanish-speaking households, and the organization is looking for more “bigs” who speak their language to volunteer.

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Lolly and Bob Rodriguez (Family photo)

For more than four decades, the Rodriguez family has run a community food pantry out of their East Side garage with little more than their own hands.

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(WTTW News)

The more than 50-year-old organization is seeking to make cultural connections that help kids achieve their full potential.

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Volunteers at Star Farm pack bags of fresh produce, purchased from small farms, to be delivered for free to South Side residents through the Market Box program. (Davon Clark)

Each week, 200 South Side households receive a free delivery of fresh produce, thanks to a collaboration between Star Farm and Experimental Station. To keep the program running through October, organizers need to raise $20,000.

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The aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico in September 2017. (WTTW News via CNN)

Since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, the U.S. territory has suffered greatly. Hundreds of Puerto Ricans who made the wrenching decision to move to Chicago after the hurricane have also struggled to recover.

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(The Salvation Army Chicago Metropolitan Division / Facebook)

The unmistakable sound of the Salvation Army’s bell-ringers could be heard Monday morning along Michigan Avenue as the organization announced an unprecedented September kickoff to its annual Red Kettle fundraiser.

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Southside Blooms grows it own flowers, on farms in Englewood, West Woodlawn and West Garfield Park. (Southside Blooms / Facebook)

These days, buying flowers might seem like the very definition of a nonessential luxury purchase. But dozens of struggling nonprofits are in fact relying on flower sales to fund the vital social services they provide.

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(WTTW News)

As part of our series COVID-19 Across Chicago, we speak with Rami Nashashibi, executive director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network.

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Asiaha Butler of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (WTTW News)

We check in with Asiaha Butler, executive director of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) as part of our series, COVID-19 Across Chicago.

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The Roseland neighborhood in Chicago. (WTTW News)

The COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown has hit hard in Chicago communities that have historically suffered from disinvestment and crime, including the Far South Side communities of Roseland and Pullman.

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The Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently highlighted the high rate of COVID-19 in Latino communities. As part of our reporting series, we spent the day in a predominantly Latino neighborhood on the city’s Near West Side.