First Presbyterian Church — Wilmette, Illinois
In 2016, First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette was matched with two newly arrived refugee families. It quickly became clear that monthly incomes plus food stamps couldn’t cover the cost of the basic household and hygiene supplies they needed to thrive as they transitioned to life in Chicago.
In fact, food stamps can’t be used to purchase any non-food items. Reaching out to an interfaith team of congregations, Stock the Shelves was born. Cash and product donations began pouring in from individuals, schools and congregations of all faiths. Stock the Shelves loaded them on a rented truck, set up a mini-store and invited refugees to shop for what they needed among the new, unopened items.
Today, Stock the Shelves is a year-round, once-monthly resource, providing nearly 500 Chicago area refugees and families the 15 household and hygiene supplies they most need.
– Erin Raska, pastor
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