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Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

West Side Siblings Giving Out Winter Care Packages To Families In Need For The Holidays

The sibling-run West Side nonprofit is giving out hot meals, groceries, winter clothes, holiday gifts and other resources. They are accepting donated items to help the cause.

The Pickett siblings distributing food on the West Side.
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WEST SIDE — A West Side neighborhood group is collecting donations to give winter wellness packages to elders and families.

The wellness packages are being given out by Earth’s Remedies. They will provide relief to families facing challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, especially those who are seniors, low-income or experiencing homelessness.

The brother and sister behind Earth’s Remedies, Mercedes and Charles Pickett, launched a GoFundMe to raise money for the giveaways. They are also accepting donated items for the packages, including warm winter clothing, books, non-perishable foods, learning resources and toys and games for children.

Families who sign up to receive a kit will get a contactless delivery Tuesday of up to four hot meals from Chicago Food On The Run, as well as a box of groceries with meats, produce and nonperishables from local food pantries.

The group will distribute other critical supplies throughout the week. Those giveaways will include STEM learning kits for students doing e-learning, water filters for families dealing with contamination from lead water pipes and energy-efficient lightbulbs to help keep utility costs low.

“Black and Brown families are struggling from an economic level, from a social level,” Mercedes Pickett said. “But it all starts with resources being readily available and families understanding those resources: where to look and who to connect to.”

Earth’s Remedies will include hygiene and sanitation kits in the wellness packages. Pickett said people looking to contribute to the effort can easily assemble the kits at home, then give them to the nonprofit.

“The community knows what the community needs. People may have time, they may have resources or skill sets, or they may have the money. If you don’t have either of those you may be one of the individuals who need the help. So there’s always a space for someone in our environment,” Mercedes Pickett said.

The Picketts launched Earth’s Remedies in 2016 as “a one-stop shop that connects families to resources and other resource centers,” Mercedes Pickett said. The siblings hope to continue to build partnerships with West Side families, small businesses and organizations that need support or have skills or services that can benefit those in need.

The Picketts offered more than $40,000 in COVID-19 relief grants to 26 Black- and Brown-owned businesses on the West Side over the summer. That network of small businesses has now helped donate resources for the wellness packages and has referred local families to Earth’s Remedies so they can benefit from the programs.

Building a network of support is a key element of Earth’s Remedies — families and businesses who apply for food, care packages and grants are automatically entered into other opportunities, like the upcoming Can We Pay Your Bills mini-grants the nonprofit is launching Dec. 31.

“Once you apply to one of our services, you’ll be forever within our network. The families that are within our network, we will always refer you to our partners,” Charles Pickett said.

To volunteer or donate food, toys, winter clothes or sanitation kits, email

Families can fill out this Google Doc to request a winter wellness kits.

Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.

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