Clothing closet and pet pantry reopen

Pet Pantry and Clothes Closet Reopen for Grateful Clients

It was smiles all around when Care for Real’s Pet Pantry and our free clothing shop, The Closet, resumed operation this month. Both services were suspended when Chicago’s stay-at-home order went into effect and layoffs began.

“We needed to focus on distributing food to our rapidly-growing client base and ensure the safety of our clients, volunteers, and staff,” Board Chair Nancy Meyerson explained. “But we planned on reopening both The Closet and the Pet Pantry as soon as it was practical.”

But like with the way we distribute food, operations in both the Pet Pantry and The Closet changed.

When the Pet Pantry resumed on July 2, clients told volunteers about their pets and their preferences. Volunteers then brought bags and cans of food and treats outside and helped the owners pack their bags. Before COVID-19, owners could themselves shop in the pantry. Still, people were thrilled and grateful to receive high-quality food for their “fur babies.”

Things are different at The Closet as well. Shopping now is by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Clients can sign up for the 15-minute time slots when they come from to the pantry to get groceries. There are three appointments per hour with time between appointments for cleaning high touch areas.

“The Closet is extremely important to our clients. We were eager to provide this service but wanted to be sure we can protect the safety of our shoppers, volunteers, and staff before reopening,” stated Karen Feiler, volunteer coordinator. “

Clients have responded enthusiastically, and appointment book up each day.