The Family Care Closet: A School-based Pantry
The Family Care Closet (FCC), located at North Chicago Community High School (NCCHS), was launched in October of 2013 by North Chicago Community Partners (NCCP) and helps address the hunger issues of families in North Chicago Community Unit School District 187 (CUSD 187). The FCC is currently open two times per week for families to “shop” once per month. In-kind and financial donations are used to keep the shelves of the FCC stocked with a variety of non-perishable food items, and limited quantities of bread and produce. The FCC also offers other essential items, such as personal hygiene products, household items, diapers, school supplies and winter wear, which cannot be purchased through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
NCCP manages the FCC and strives to create a respectful, enjoyable shopping experience for all of its guests. A team of dedicated community volunteers provide additional support on a weekly basis, greeting and registering guests, reading to visiting children, helping to pack and transfer groceries and restocking shelves. Through a collaboration with Bernie’s Book Bank, children are also allowed to select three books for their home libraries each time they visit the FCC. “Homework Kits” are also available for all students.
There are only a handful of other food pantries operating in North Chicago, so the FCC has been well received by the community. Families and students in need are grateful for the immediate support and equally appreciative of the pantry’s inviting atmosphere and respectful attitude of NCCP employees and volunteers.
[Boxes and tables for statistics, wish list items, and contact information]