Caridades de la Cruz's fifth fair in Des Plaines helps 125 homeless people, and hopefully more

  • Andy Erazo, a volunteer from Sacred Heart Church in Melrose Park, gives out coffee and other drinks Saturday at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Pastoral Center in Des Plaines. Erazo and his wife, Maria, were two of dozens of volunteers at the fifth annual Caridades de la Cruz (Charities of the Cross) homeless fair.

      Andy Erazo, a volunteer from Sacred Heart Church in Melrose Park, gives out coffee and other drinks Saturday at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Pastoral Center in Des Plaines. Erazo and his wife, Maria, were two of dozens of volunteers at the fifth annual Caridades de la Cruz (Charities of the Cross) homeless fair. Harry Hitzeman | Staff Photographer

  • Lucy Izaguirre of Joliet, top, one of Saturday's volunteers, discusses a hairstyle with Mirna Gutierres of Mexico before giving a complimentary cut.

      Lucy Izaguirre of Joliet, top, one of Saturday's volunteers, discusses a hairstyle with Mirna Gutierres of Mexico before giving a complimentary cut. Harry Hitzeman | Staff Photographer

  • Edwin Hernandez, head of Caridades de la Cruz (Charities of the Cross), organizes volunteers at Saturday's fifth annual homeless fair, where an estimated 125 people received food, clothing, showers and haircuts.

      Edwin Hernandez, head of Caridades de la Cruz (Charities of the Cross), organizes volunteers at Saturday's fifth annual homeless fair, where an estimated 125 people received food, clothing, showers and haircuts. Harry Hitzeman | Staff Photographer

  • Volunteers with Caridades de la Cruz (Charities of the Cross) gave haircuts to homeless people at the fifth annual homeless fair at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Pastoral Center in Des Plaines Saturday.

      Volunteers with Caridades de la Cruz (Charities of the Cross) gave haircuts to homeless people at the fifth annual homeless fair at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Pastoral Center in Des Plaines Saturday. Harry Hitzeman | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/22/2018 5:36 PM

Five years ago, when Edwin Hernandez of Caridades de la Cruz (Charities of the Cross) and several others organized a fair to provide food, clothing, showers and haircuts to area homeless people, about 20 people were served.

Fast forward to Saturday, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Pastoral Center in Des Plaines is bustling with dozens of volunteers helping more than 125 area homeless people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Hernandez was hoping to reach 200 people Saturday, but help also will soon come to those who didn't make it to the event.

Hernandez said one group of volunteers helped prepare and collect food and clothing for Saturday's event; others deliver clothes and food on a weekly basis to the homeless in parks and under bridges in Chicago, especially when it's extremely cold.

"In the beginning, we started with 20 homeless in the area," Hernandez said. "Then we decided to go a little farther."

Caridades de la Cruz had about 100 volunteers from 10 area churches to help provide food, clothing and transportation to the Des Plaines location, 1170 N. River Road, on Saturday.

The ministry provides weekly assistance to the homeless.

"Every year, it has grown," said Manuel Padilla, vice rector at Our Lady of Guadalupe. "People have come from Joliet and other places around Chicago. Once a week, they go to give to the homeless food and sometimes clothes."

To volunteer or donate clothes or other goods, call (773) 896-3437 or (847) 294-1806 or visit solg.org

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