We have toilet paper, paper towels and food thanks to ECRA and our neighbors
On Saturday, June 6, the Edgewater Community Religious Association (ECRA) hosted its first Community Supply Drive. The results were overwhelming and heartwarming.
Approximately 3.25 tons of food and supplies along with 3,800 rolls of toilet paper were collected at the event which was held at the parking lot of the Ismaili Jamatkhana (Center) Chicago. All of the non-perishable food items, water, and hygiene supplies were sterilized by volunteers from I-CERV (Ismaili Community Engaged in Responsible Volunteering) before being loaded into vans and delivered to Care for Real.
“Care for Real is so grateful to ECRA and the Ismaili Jamatkhana for this wonderful drive,” said Nancy Meyerson, Chair of the Board at Care for Real. “We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of food, household items and paper products. Our clients were especially thrilled to receive the toilet paper, cleaning products, paper towels and facial tissue that was donated. These items are hard-to-find and cannot be purchased with SNAP (formerly called food stamp) benefits.”
More than 150 community members drove through the parking lot to drop off donations while practicing social distancing. Community members were asked to load supplies into the trunk of their vehicle and allow volunteers to remove those items directly to help abide by current health guidelines.
This outpouring is typical of the generosity of the ECRA congregations and of our community. Pastor Fred Kinsey of Unity Lutheran Church said, “Knowing the need to help feed our neighbors is greater than ever during this pandemic, it was a no-brainer to jump into action and organize a Community Care Drive.
Allen Stryczek led the effort to organize congregations and market the event at local businesses and various block clubs. He was thankful to the many from the community who came out to participate and being able “…to work together for the good of Care for Real and those in need in our community whom they serve. I think we all continue to observe that it is in giving that we receive.”
More than 30 volunteers from congregations of various faiths collaborated to make the donation drive a success. Roohi Hussain, a volunteer from I-CERV, said, “It is wonderful to see people of various backgrounds come together to help our neighbors at a time like this when we all need to provide support for one another.” Volunteers were equipped with face masks and gloves while positioned at various stations that were spaced out to ensure the safety of everyone participating.