ROSELAND — Community members will hand out essentials in Roseland Saturday to help neighbors of an area severely affected by last month’s looting and property damage.
The Roseland Give & Go is noon-2 p.m. Saturday at the former location of Gately’s People’s Store, 11201 S. Michigan Ave.
Available essentials include: masks, diapers, hand sanitizer, feminine products, baby food/ formula, shampoo/conditioner, body soap, toothbrushes/toothpaste and canned goods.
Cleopatra Draper, one of the hosts of the Roseland Give & Go and founder of United Pullman, said it’s a way to bring awareness to the food desert and scarcity of products in the area.
“What gave birth to this was just the dire need that came with living in a food desert,” said Draper. “We don’t have fresh produce, and even before the looting our cupboards were bare.”
For the past 12 weeks, while volunteering at local food pantries, Draper has talked to residents about the lack of access, opportunities and bare essentials, she said.
Hosting the Roseland Give & Go at the former Gately’s People’s Store was intentional, she added. It’s a way for people to create a good memory of a place that once represented a bustling Roseland. It burned down June 7, 2019.
“The history of Roseland and this memory that most people tap into is how bustling it used to be, everything is in the past tense,” said Draper. “I want people to have a good memory because if you go off what you see today, the status of it can be depressing. It makes sense that we bring color where there’s a lot of gray.”
Artists will also be present Saturday to do portraits.
The items being given away were donated by community members and by various partners such as U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, The Roots Initiative, United Pullman, SOUL, Flourish PAC, Greenstone United Methodist Church and HOPE Dealers.
Donations are still being accepted from 2-6 p.m. Friday at 10729 S. Champlain Ave. Organizers need diapers and baby food the most. Volunteers can also sign up there.