As Catholic Christians we are called to go out into our communities to serve those who are in need, whether in mind or body. At Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Parish, we currently offer the three ministry opportunities, outlined below, that provide opportunities for our parishioners to serve our local community.
ICSJ Parish Food Pantry
The ICSJ Parish Food Pantry was started 40 years ago and was the brainchild of Henry “Mac” McDonald, a former IC School teacher and the Community Relations coordinator for Immaculate Conception Church. Mac started the Food Pantry to support the needs of the residents of the Cabrini Green area. Not only could residents come in to get food and clothing, but Mac would support other needs such as locating jobs or finding larger household items. Mac passed away a few years ago, but his presence is still felt today. Over the years, the Food Pantry has had many homes, from a closet in the IC parish center to the old St. Joseph School, and its current location just down the street from St. Joseph at Union Missionary Baptist Church (940. N. Orleans St.). Many dedicated ICSJ Parish parishioners have volunteered through the years to help shape the pantry and continue its mission of Christian service to others.
How the ICSJ Parish Food Pantry Works
Groceries are purchased by ICSJ Parish and delivered to the Food Pantry about once a week. Grocery bags are packed on Saturday mornings from 8-9:00 a.m. before the doors are opened to customers from 9-10:00 a.m. Customers, who are allowed to get food once per month, check-in at the front desk where we update their info and give them their food bag.
How to Get Involved
The ICSJ Parish Food Pantry is one big supportive family made up of customers, volunteers, and the people who donate. There are a number of ways for everyone to get involved:
On Saturday mornings, you can help pack bags and put out donated items from 8:00-9:00 a.m. or check-in customers and pass out bags from 9:00-10:00 a.m. You can even join a game of Dominos after the work is done! We always need extra help at the holidays sorting and packing the extra donations we receive at that time.
Donations can be brought to the Food Pantry between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays or left at either of the parish offices during the week. The following items are always appreciated:
Non-perishable Food Items including things like, Dry Cereal, Canned Meat/Beef/Stew, Canned Vegetables, Juice (bottled or boxed), Cake Mixes, Pancake Mix, Peanut Butter, Jelly/Jam, Hearty Soups, Rice, Popcorn , Hot Cereal (e.g. oatmeal, Cream of Wheat), Crackers, Canned Pasta (e.g., spaghetti/ravioli), Breakfast/nutrition bars, Instant Potatoes, Hormel/Hamburger Helper, and more.
Gifts in Kind: We used to get a weekly donation of day-old bread and pastries from a local grocery store. Our customers fondly remember the cakes & pies. We would love to have this again. If you have an “in” at a grocery store and could deliver the donated food, we would appreciate it.
Monetary Donations. Online donations can be made via GiveCentral.
Unfortunately, the new space does not permit the distribution of clothes or household goods so we will no longer be accepting donations of these items.
Deborah’s Place is Chicago’s largest provider of supportive housing exclusively for women and is recognized as an innovative leader among homeless service providers locally and nationally. ICSJ Parish has served at Deborah’s Place for many years. We staff the dinners on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. Little is expected and much is received back. Dinner is already started by the staff; we make final preparations and serve the meal. Paper plates are used so clean up is minimal. We arrive at 6:15 p.m. and depart before 8:00 p.m. For more information please contact Mary DeLaney by email or at 312-915-0130.
Catholic Charities sees the face of God in those in need. By providing food, clothing, shelter and counseling, they bring hope to the hopeless in the city of Chicago and its suburbs. For more information and volunteer opportunities, visit the Catholic Charities website.