These are challenging times for everyone, but for the most vulnerable in our communities, the stress of food and economic insecurity is especially tough. Our office is working daily in partnership with elected officials and organizations throughout our community to support residents that have experienced job losses due to COVID-19, businesses that are closed to help bend the curve of this pandemic, individuals and families who are dependent on food and medical deliveries, and workers who are on the front lines.
Are you in need of assistance? You can reach our office at 847-486-8810 or info@GongGershowitz.com. My staff is available to help with a wide range of needs from grocery and medical deliveries, assistance with Medicaid and SNAP benefits, and application of unemployment benefits.
If you are looking for ways to support those in our communities, here are five ways you can help:
1) Support Local Food Pantries
Food pantries in our community have seen an incredible uptick in need, some seeing 10x their usual number of clients over the last several weeks.
They have dramatically increased their capacity to order, pack, and distribute food, toiletries, and more in mere days. All the while, implementing critical and difficult safety practices to protect clients and volunteers.
Staff are working day and night to keep up with need.
In order to help keep up with this need, I am working with State Senator Laura Fine, State Senator Heather Steans, State Senator Ram Villivalam, State Representative John D’Amico, State Representative Kelly Cassidy, State Representative Mark “Yehiel” Kalish, Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Commissioner Bridgett Degnen, Commissioner Scott Brittton, Alderman Debra Silverstein, Alderman Samantha Nugent, Alderman Andre Vasquez, MWRD Commissioner Josina Morita, and Committeeman Lou Lang to raise funds for our community food pantries and we need your help.
Every donation counts, whether you have $15, $50, $100, $250, or $500 to spare.
Donations will be split among the following organizations that are feeding neighbors in and around the 17th District:
- Niles Township Food Pantry
- Maine Township Food Pantry
- Northfield Township Food Pantry
- ICNA Relief-Chicago
- The Salvation Army Mayfair Corp of Community Food Pantry
- City of Niles Family Services
- Care for Real
- Howard Area Community Center
- A Just Harvest
- Northwest Church of Christ
- Seventh-day Adventist Church Chicago
- Edgebrook Lutheran Church
- Common Pantry
- The Ark
- Chicago Chesed Fund Food Pantry, Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago, Bikur Cholim of Chicago, Agudath Israel of Illinois, Chicago Center for Torah and Chesed, Chicago Mitzvah Campaign.
We are hearing from our local pantries that certain items are most in need:
- Beverages (juice boxes, juice, coffee, tea)
- Cereal – options beyond Cheerios would be appreciated
- Canned fruit
- Cooking oil, salad dressings, condiments
- Personal hygiene items (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, feminine hygiene pads, Tylenol or generic)
- Household cleaning supplies (laundry and dish soaps, hand soaps, multi-purpose cleaner, trash bags, cleanser and toilet cleaner)
- Toilet Paper
2) Support Local Businesses
Local businesses are the backbone of our economy, creating jobs and bringing critical services to our community. They are also among the businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Looking for ways to support local small businesses? A few great options are order carry-out or delivery from your favorite local restaurants or buying gift cards for later use at local shops.
Check out chamber pages for information on specific businesses and more tips:
3) Support Our Local First Responders by donating Personal Protective Equipment
There is an urgent call for more personal protective equipment (PPE).
The Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging all outpatient surgical and procedural centers, ambulatory surgery centers, and veterinarians, among others, to donate their unused PPE that is not immediately needed to assist health care providers, health care facilities, and first responders who are on the front line and actively responding to COVID-19.
Any type of PPE will be welcomed, especially surgical gloves, gowns, goggles, face shields, surgical masks, and N-95 respirator masks.
To donate PPE, please email PPE.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have leads on PPE manufacturers? Email email@example.com.
4) Volunteer with #TeamJGG to make calls to Seniors
Join #TeamJGG to help us make calls to seniors in our district’s communities from your own home. We will be asking if they have any general question regarding what is happening as well as asking what assistance and/or services they may need. Our constituent service team is able to follow up.
This effort is to ensure sure people have accurate information and get the help they need and deserve.
All volunteers will be trained, no experience required.
5) Share accurate information about available resources
Our office is here to answer questions and provide as much information as we can during these unprecedented challenges. For the most up-to-date information, please follow me on Facebook @GongGershowitz, check our website at www.GongGershowitz.com to access the most recent newsletters, and visit the Governor’s dedicated website on the state’s coronavirus response at: coronavirus.illinois.gov.