Traveling around Chicago (and specifically Logan Square), the issue of homelessness is apparent. Many Chicagoans are left unsure about how to respond. Donating to Open Arms is a tangible way to secure basic needs.
In 2003, New Community Covenant Church, began to find homeless neighbors visiting their offices on Logan Square's Diversey Ave., seeking warmth, a cup of coffee, and some social support. Recognizing the church's responsibility to serve the poor and love their neighbors, this serving posture translated into the New Community Warming Center, renamed as Open Arms Ministry in 2014.
Even earlier in 1980, concerned members of St. Luke's Lutheran Church, responding to the consistent hunger and food insecurity in their midst, established Elijah's Food Pantry, which for over thirty years has served the nutritional needs of hundreds of local families.
When St. Luke's sold their building to New Community in 2015, New Community found an opportunity to consolidate both the drop-in center and food pantry ministries into a new 501(c)3 non-profit, separate from but in a supportive relationship with New Community. Founded in 2016 (we re-launched September 6, 2016!), it is Open Arms Ministry's aim to strengthen and expand our role as a resource for struggling individuals and families in the surrounding neighborhoods.
The Drop-In Center: Open Arms Drop-In provides basic relief services to individuals struggling with homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. More than relief from the weather outside, this drop-in program enables those who come to share a meal with friends and get connected to resources.
Guests also receive help meeting physical needs like clothing, toiletries, and basic healthcare. Referrals (and transportation assistance) are available for services such as overnight shelter, legal assistance, recovery, and education (to name a few).
The Food Pantry: Working in conjunction with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the Open Arms Food Pantry serves families and individuals who live in the area bounded by Irving Park, Fullerton, Pulaski, and Western.
All are welcome (proof of address required), including those who have experienced job loss, illness in the family, unexpected expenses, and more.
Despite the relative wealth of the Logan Square community, there is also deep income inequality, with thousands of individuals and families struggling to meet their most basic needs. According to Chicago's Point-In-Time count, over 10% of homeless individuals reside in the communities of Logan Square and Avondale, with thousands of others living within 200% of the poverty line and at risk of homelessness.
Just since our September 6th re-launch, the Open Arms Drop-In Center has served 196 unique guests, with 70 guests attending regularly, a number certain to rise as the weather grows colder. In 2016, we have served over 3100 lunches, given out over 1200 pairs of socks, and provided over 500 pairs of pants. In addition our food pantry serves hundreds of families weekly in the greater Logan Square area, providing literally tons of foods a month to families in need.
In addition to the kick-off campaign, Open Arms is seeking out sustainable donors. Sustainable donors are individuals and families who believe in the mission of Open Arms and are interested in supporting the work of Open Arms on a monthly basis. If you would like to sign up to be a sustainable donor, we invite you to visit our website at openarmsministry.org (scroll down to Donate).
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