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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Pilsen Restaurant Collecting Donations For Migrant Children Housed at Heartland Alliance Facility

This week, Monnie Burke’s be collecting new and gently-used items for migrant children separated from their families.

[Mauricio Peña/Block Club Chicago]
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PILSEN — A Pilsen restaurant is holding a donation drive to collect items for migrant children separated from their families.

Monnie Burke’s, 1163 W. 18th St., is partnering up with Heartland Alliance, a nonprofit that assists immigrants with housing and legal assistance, to collect items for children housed at a facility run by Heartland Alliance in Chicago.

During the seven-day drive that runs from Monday, July 9 to Sunday, July 15, Monnie Burke’s is collecting an assortment of “new and gently-used items” that include board games, books, soccer balls, toys and more for children at Heartland Alliance shelters.

The restaurant wanted to provide an opportunity to patrons and neighbors to help migrant children, said Leigh-Anne Riebold, marketing director at Monnie Burke’s.

“Our biggest hope for the drive is that our efforts will help to ease a little of the suffering of the children and their families by making sure they are well taken care of during this time of fear and uncertainty,” Riebold added.

The restaurant is also offering a 10 percent discount for people who make a donation.

RELATED: Chicago Immigrants Horrified By Family Separations — Because They Know How It Feels

Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy on May 7, more than 2,000 immigrant children have been separated from their parents while attempting to cross into the U.S.

More than 60 migrant children separated from their families at the border are being housed at facilities run by Heartland Alliance.

According to the Sun-Times, two-thirds of the 66 children were under the age of 13 and one third were under the age of five.

Last month, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Heartland Alliance President Evelyn Diaz condemned the Trump administration policy of separating children from their parents.

In a statement, Heartland Alliance said they’ve been providing shelter to children who cross our borders alone, seeking safety for nearly three decades.  “We provide a safe, healing environment for children as they work to reunite them with family members.”

“In the last six weeks, this work has begun to include a small share of children who have been separated from their families at the border as a result of the administration’s Zero Tolerance policy,” the statement read. “Although Heartland Alliance has nothing to do with the decision to separate children from their parents, we are doing everything we can to keep children safe while they are entrusted in our care.”

Heartland Alliance is seeking the following donations for the children at their facilities:

  • Board games 
  • Books for toddlers, preteens, young adults 
  • Soccer Balls
  • Puzzles
  • Construction paper
  • Markers
  • Non-toxic classroom paint
  • Craft sets
  • Un-inflated balloons

Monnie Burke’s, owned by Oak Park’s mayor, opened this spring in Pilsen. 

Pilsen restaurant Monnie Burke’s kicked off their collection drive Monday for migrant children housed at a Heartland Alliance facility in Chicago.  [Provided Monnie Burke]