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Want to help Streetwise and the unhoused? 'Give a Shi*t' offers tees from local artists

'Give a Shi*t' offers tees to help Streetwise and the unhoused
'Give a Shi*t' offers tees to help Streetwise and the unhoused 01:56

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A basement in Norwood Park has become the home base for an operation connecting artists to a good cause.

Tens of thousands of t-shirts are printed - to benefit people experiencing homelessness. CBS 2's Noel Brennan shows us how it works.

"It was just a grassroots effort to put this thing together in three weeks."

Printing t-shirts is a side gig for Scott Marvel, but it fulfills him full-time.

"Use art to do good. It's a simple process," Marvel said.

Artists donate their designs and Marvel prints them by hand from his basement in Norwood Park.

"This is the Boston Tea Party by the artist Rick Conrad," Marvel said, showing two terriers enjoying tea. 

Marvel then sells them online and in pop-up shops across Chicago.

"If you like a design, buy a shirt and this will dramatically improve someone's life," Marvel said.

Someone like Ruben Garcia.

"I was homeless for five months when I got here in Chicago. I was sleeping at a bus bench downtown," he said.

He's one of the dozens of magazine vendors for Streetwise, an organization giving a hand up to people experiencing homelessness.

"These come out every week. Every Wednesday."

Magazines come hot off the press, in part thanks to Marvel's t-shirt press in his basement.

"When someone places an order, the backend of that website goes straight to Streetwise."

The Give a Shirt mission started in 2015.

"Over 50 designs donated by local artists," Garcia said.

"Give a Shirt," Marvel said with a laugh. "It's really important to say that correctly."

Tens of thousands of shirts later, sales have raised more than $500,000 for Streetwise.

"It's cool. We're helping an artist and we're helping a Streetwise vendor," Marvel said.

"Yesterday, I completed my one-year anniversary," Garcia said.

Giving back can be as simple as giving a shirt.

"This is one way I can contribute," added Marvel.

Printed a slew of @tim_cubby_blue “The Cow Potatoes” this weekend. One of over 40 new designs at 100% of every sale goes to @streetwise_chi to help our neighbors in need.

Posted by Give A Shirt on Monday, November 27, 2023
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