Local organization gives kids and families a chance to give back

Baking cookies with dad is a great way to spend Father's Day, but when it's done to help others, those cookies taste even sweeter.

Chicago area kids are volunteering with their dads to make cookies for the residents of the Illinois Medical District guesthouse. It's set up through The Honeycomb Project -- an organization that pairs families and kids with volunteer opportunities.

"Through our programs, more than 5,000 youth and families will volunteer throughout the city this year. Our programs will help more than 40 local organizations. So together these families are making an incredible impact with their work," co-founder and executive director of The Honeycomb Project Kristina Lowenstein said.

Volunteer opportunities with Honeycomb range from gardening at Garfield Park, cooking up meals for the homeless, or hosting a cookout for veterans. The benefits to everyone involved are priceless.

"They bring encouragement to our guests. They bring enthusiasm to our guests. Because they are a family organization, they do things that make our guests feel a little more at home, because there's a real sense of isolation people have when they are away getting medical treatment," volunteer Adam said.

Lana Schmidt has been staying at the guesthouse for two months while receiving medical treatment.

"It's amazing. When you find on the door a bag of cookies. A cookie brings a smile. It makes you feel warm, and comfortable. Especially a homemade cookie, and all the effort that goes into a homemade cookie. All that love that's in there, you feel that," Lana said.

Besides doing good for others, parents find volunteering to be a unique bonding experience with their kids.

"Being her dad is the best job in the world. So not only is it great to give back, but having a stronger relationship with my daughter, doing the right thing – greatest thing in the word," one dad said.

"I like helping people. It makes me feel good after you do it," one kid said.

You can find out how to volunteer with The Honeycomb Project on their website: thehoneycombproject.org.