Many ways to help less fortunate this holiday season
The bounty of the holiday season, enjoyed by many, also serves to emphasize the plight of society's less fortunate. In Chicago, cold weather often exacerbates the problems of those people who are already in difficult situations.
Many members of the University community help people in need by donating time, food, money or clothing to various local agencies -- not just during the holidays, but throughout the year.
They also help by donating through "Giving to Help," the University's Campaign for the United Way and Other Charities. Donations through "Giving to Help" can be made to any recognized charity in the United States or to the Chicago United Way/Crusade of Mercy, an independent organization governed by local volunteers. (See story on page 2.)
Below is a list of some area organizations that provide food, shelter or other programs for the homeless and needy, along with each organization's specific needs, if any.
AT THE UNIVERSITY The Giving Tree, Reynolds Club 001 Contact: Gloria Lee, 702-4452 A University student group whose goals are to raise community awareness and to address issues concerning the homeless. Renovates apartments at Cabrini Green on Saturdays, three or four times a quarter. Feeds 150 homeless people downtown every Sunday. Also collects clothing and food throughout the year. Any campus group with food leftover from a gathering can contact Gloria Lee at ghlee@midway to donate it.
University Community Service Center, Reynolds Club 003A Contact: Aracely Munoz Contreras, 753-4483 A University-sponsored center that provides information on volunteer opportunities with student- and community-based organizations in the city of Chicago. Information on national groups is also available.
IN THE COMMUNITY The Blue Gargoyle, University Church, 5655 S. University Ave. Contact: Charlene Brown, 955-4108 An agency that offers tutoring for children and adults as well as an adult literacy program and counseling services. Needs volunteers to tutor children and adults in math, reading and writing.
Clara's House, 1650 W. 62nd St. Contact: Temtie Hampton, 778-8854 A family shelter for single, homeless and battered women and their children.
Community Supportive Living Systems Inc. Contact: Fabian Rogers, 239-0501, or Laverne Brody, 291-0482 Provides transitional living for male youths and young-adult men in two communal living facilities and scattered-site apartments in Hyde Park. Also has programs for teens and clients affected by HIV/AIDS.
Feed the People Open Kitchen, 4608 S. Greenwood Ave. Contact: Rev. Leroy Saunders, 373-2861 Serves noontime meals four days a week. Volunteers are always welcome. Call 536-9059 or drop in.
First Presbyterian Church, 64th Street & Kimbark Avenue Contact: Mary Lou Todd, 363-0505 Serves lunch for 300 to 400 people at 1 p.m. every Tuesday. Volunteers are always welcome. Donations of canned goods and paper supplies, such as plates and napkins, are always needed.
Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council Food Pantry, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, 4840 S. Dorchester Ave. Contact: Jan Deckenbach, 702-7034 Distributes emergency supplies of groceries to residents who live between 43rd and 60th streets, from Cottage Grove to the lake. Volunteers are needed to put together food packages, and to help with recycling, general cleaning and some clerical work. Food and monetary donations are always welcome.
Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, 1238 E. 46th St. Contact: Robert Lucas, 548-7500 A social-service organization that offers community-development programs, adult education, welfare-to-work programs, home repair for senior citizens and the disabled, and an emergency food pantry that is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Monetary donations are always welcome. Currently conducting a program in which families in need are "adopted" by groups, with each group providing Christmas gifts and a food package for one family.
Matthew House Supportive Service Center, 3610 S. Giles Ave. Contact: Reggie Harden, 536-2528, or the Rev. Sanja Stinson, 536-3661 A center for the homeless that offers a variety of services. Serves two hot meals every weekday. Always in need of men's clothing, including coats, thermal underwear, gloves, etc. Volunteers, cash donations and donations of meals are welcome. Volunteers, toys and gift certificates for local restaurants are particularly welcome during the holidays.
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church Refuge Center, 4840 S. Dorchester Ave. Contact: Helen Humphrey or Jean Moreland, 268-2733 Short-term and intermediate-term shelter for women with dependent children. Donations of food, baby formula, toiletries, toys and bedding are always welcome, as are volunteers to work with the children.
St. Gelasius Catholic Church, 6415 S. Woodlawn Ave. Contact: Brother Damien, 363-6500 Runs a food pantry that is open from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Serves up to 400 families every month, depending on donations. Food donations are always welcome.
St. Martin De Porres House of Hope, 6423 S. Woodlawn Ave. Contact: Sister Therese or Sister Sullivan, 643-5843 A shelter for women and children that provides such services as job training, child care and substance-abuse rehabilitation. Volunteers are needed to help tutor children and take them on outings, and to visit with the women living in the shelter. Food and monetary donations are always welcome, especially canned and boxed food and baking supplies.
Unity House, 4331-33 S. Vincennes Contact: Rev. Ethel Johnson, 285-2668 A second-stage housing facility that houses residents for six to 24 months. Residents include mothers 18 and older and their children. Greatest need is for volunteers to help with child care -- the mothers are either in school or working. Always needs donations of small household items, such as dish towels, wastebaskets and small appliances.
Homeless Help Line: For information on other shelters in Chicago, call 563-1600.