UPTOWN — An Uptown bike shop said it's inviting customers and residents to stop in on Tuesdays this month and next for hot chocolate, sweets and information about how they can help the community.
Uptown Bikes, 4653 N. Broadway, slows down in the winter, and employees have long thrown around the idea of using the space there for other things when that occurs, said manager Nora Gallagher.
The 35-year-old Humboldt Park resident said she recently posed the idea to her staff of using Uptown Bikes to support and connect local community organizations and social justice-oriented groups operating in Uptown.
What resulted was Toasty Tuesdays, an event that kicked off Jan. 14 with the Chicago Women's Health Center as its featured organization.
The idea, Gallagher said, is that "people show up, have a nice time, talk to each other, share ideas and make connections with each other,” Gallagher said.
“A lot of these groups, we have relationships with just from years of knowing them as neighbors who have come and gotten their bikes worked on,” Gallagher said. “We have a lot of customers doing a lot of good work, and I wanted to see if it could be a place where we could connect people.”
Uptown Bikes also donates 10 percent of its Tuesday proceeds to participating organizations.
So far, “it’s been really great,” Gallagher said about Toasty Tuesdays.
Voices for Creative Nonviolence is this Tuesday's featured organization. The organization, according to its website, "has deep, long-standing roots in active nonviolent resistance to U.S. war-making."
The group could benefit from exposure generated by the event, Gallagher said.
“I think not a lot of people know about them and it’d be nice to have them over,” she said.
Voices for Creative Nonviolence Executive Director Kathy Kelly said that the bike shop was a model citizen, "when it comes to living lives of sharing," and concern for the better good of Uptown.
"I've watched the community around Uptown Bikes exemplify that," Kelly said.
Youth development agency Alternatives Inc., and longstanding Uptown-based activist groups Northside Action for Justice and ONE Northside are slated to be featured in the next three Toasty Tuesdays, which end in mid-February.