Self-Help Closet & Pantry helps Des Plaines residents in need

Self-Help Closet & Pantry has been helping Des Plaines residents in need since 1971

  • Volunteers from the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines marched in the Des Plaines Fourth of July parade to thank the community for their support.

    Volunteers from the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines marched in the Des Plaines Fourth of July parade to thank the community for their support. Courtesy of Debbie Walusiak

  • Debbie Walusiak, executive director of the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines, mans the organization's display table during Winter Wonderland, a Des Plaines community festival.

    Debbie Walusiak, executive director of the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines, mans the organization's display table during Winter Wonderland, a Des Plaines community festival. Courtesy of Debbie Walusiak

  • The Kiwanis Club of Des Plaines was this year's winner in the annual "Food Fight," sponsored by the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce, to benefit the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines.

    The Kiwanis Club of Des Plaines was this year's winner in the annual "Food Fight," sponsored by the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce, to benefit the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines. Courtesy of Debbie Walusiak

  • Volunteers from the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines at a previous "Putt for the Pantry" fundraiser. Pictured, from left, are Denise Rodd, Holly Wilson, Donna Hoffman and Katherine Bausone, all of Des Plaines.

    Volunteers from the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines at a previous "Putt for the Pantry" fundraiser. Pictured, from left, are Denise Rodd, Holly Wilson, Donna Hoffman and Katherine Bausone, all of Des Plaines. Courtesy of Debbie Walusiak

  • Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines volunteers, from left, Don Turner and Larry DiGiannantonio, both of Des Plaines, help sort food during a previous National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive. The annual fundraiser held in May was canceled this year due to COVID-19 concerns.

    Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines volunteers, from left, Don Turner and Larry DiGiannantonio, both of Des Plaines, help sort food during a previous National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive. The annual fundraiser held in May was canceled this year due to COVID-19 concerns. Courtesy of Debbie Walusiak

  • Pictured are volunteers of "Pack the Bus," the annual Maine West High School Food Drive to benefit the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines.

    Pictured are volunteers of "Pack the Bus," the annual Maine West High School Food Drive to benefit the Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines. Courtesy of Debbie Walusiak

 
by Debra Walusiak,
Self Help Closet & Pantry executive director
Posted5/7/2020 9:42 AM

The Self-Help Closet & Pantry was established in Des Plaines in 1971 in the basement of First Congregational Church. It was incorporated in 1987 as an independent, not-for-profit corporation in Illinois.

Despite tremendous growth over the years, the organization's mission remains simple: To provide food and clothing to Des Plaines residents in need.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Self-Help Closet & Pantry relies mainly on the community for support through food and monetary donations from local businesses, residents, churches, schools, clubs and organizations, the Chamber of Commerce and the city of Des Plaines.

The nonprofit currently serves about 400 Des Plaines households, although that number is increasing with the spread of COVID-19.

The "staff" of the Self-Help Closet & Pantry includes about 65 volunteers and one part-time employee, who serves as executive director.

The organization's two main fundraisers are the annual summer "Putt for the Pantry" miniature golf family event, including a grilled lunch and raffle, and the annual fall "Tailgate" fundraiser at Club Casa in Des Plaines.

The largest food drive benefiting the Self-Help Closet & Pantry is the annual National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive in May, which this year was canceled.

The Self-Help Closet & Pantry is open for clients from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Donor hours are 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Tuesdays and 9 to 10 a.m. Saturdays.

To learn more about becoming a client, donating or volunteering, call (847) 375-1443, or visit www.selfhelppantry.org or on Facebook@desplainesfoodpantry.

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