National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week: What inspires me to volunteer

During National Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week, CCH will offer a daily essay by people who work with us, writing about what inspires their work.

By Melissa Haggerty, Speakers Bureau intern

Melissa Haggerty
Melissa Haggerty

For a majority of my childhood, I was raised by a single mother. We lived “doubled up” with my grandparents in Garfield Ridge, on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Without their monetary and emotional support, and the support of other family members, it is very possible that we would have ended up in a shelter. 

The reason I’m so involved with CCH is because not everyone can rely on family during times of need. Their only option is to rely on underfunded government assistance programs, like SNAP and Housing Choice Vouchers, if they can even meet the qualifications. I think there’s a systematic issue that perpetuates homelessness, and that’s something I hope to help change with my involvement with CCH.

One of the things that’s impacted me the most is my work with the CCH Education Committee through outreach. I think it’s really important to build relationships with community members and tell parents their rights so they can get all the benefits they’re legally entitled to.

Melissa Haggerty is an undergraduate at Loyola University Chicago, studying psychology. She interns with the CCH Speakers Bureau and serves as vice president of its Loyola student chapter. She was raised in Chicago’s Garfield Ridge neighborhood and the southwest suburbs.