Migrants take shelter and live inside of the Near West 12th police precinct in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., August 29, 2023. Credit: Jim Vondruska/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — As seasons change and more buses with migrants arrive in Chicago, nonprofits and mutual aid groups need financial help and donated goods now more than ever to help thousands of people.

More than 18,000 migrants have arrived in Chicago since August 2022, city data show. Nearly 11,000 are being housed in temporary city-run shelters, while about 3,000 are sleeping in police stations and city airports.

The number of people sleeping inside and outside police stations has increased by about 50 percent over the past several weeks, with the pace of bus arrivals increasing, according to city data.

City officials and community groups said they need temperature-appropriate clothing for the colder months. Also, some groups are trying to help people furnish new apartments as they transition out of city-run shelters and free up space for others.

Here are some ways Chicagoans can help migrants settle into their own homes and help the people still sleeping in police stations.

Donated clothes, toiletries, toys and more are sorted for migrants at Christ Lutheran Church in Albany Park, where five migrant families are living, on May 16, 2023.

New Life Centers & Partners

New Life Centers is partnering with The Chicago Furniture Bank and Cradles to Crayons Chicago to provide furniture and clothing for new arrivals.

Anyone wanting to donate extra furniture like beds, couches, kitchen tables or chairs to new arrivals as they settle into permanent housing can fill out a form requesting Chicago Furniture Bank pick it up. People can also drop it off themselves 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday at 4801 S. Whipple St.

For more information on the Chicago Furniture Bank’s and New Life Centers’ efforts, go here.

Cradles to Crayons is also working with New Life Centers to get new or gently used clothes and shoes of all sizes to migrants. You can buy items directly from the group’s Amazon Wish List or find a drop-off location.

City of Chicago Amazon Wish List

The city has partnered with Instituto del Progreso Latino to create an Amazon wishlist where people can buy supplies for migrants, including pants, shoes, shirts, hoodies, backpacks, razor blades, shower shoes and laundry bags.

People can also drop off new donations at New Life Centers, 4401 W. Ogden Ave.

Missy Marren, a North Side resident, drops off water for migrants staying at the 18th Police District station, 1160 N. Larrabee St. on Aug. 23, 2023 during the heat wave.

Southwest Collective

The Southwest Collective is also accepting specific donations: blankets, sleeping bags, coats, Spanish language books, rolling suitcases and plastic cutlery.

People can drop off only the listed items 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday at 6500 W. Archer Ave., or buy them directly through the group’s Amazon Wish list.

Pilsen Food Pantry

The Pilsen Food Pantry has been serving more clients over the past year, many of them newly arrived asylum seekers, founders said. The group also supports migrants staying at the Near West Side (12th) District police station by providing food as well as essentials like bedding and clothes.

To donate, email donations@pilsenfoodpantry.comSome of the most in-demand items are sleeping bags, sleeping or yoga mats, men’s and women’s winter gear, men’s shoes and new adult underwear.

Folks can also donate money to the Pantry through this link. Donations help them buy some of the 30,000 pounds of food it donates every week and hire full-time staff.

The Pantry is also almost entirely run by volunteers. You can sign up for a volunteer shift through this link.

Mobile Migrant Health Team

The Mobile Migrant Health Team is a volunteer group of physicians, public health experts and medical school students providing health assessments, basic hygiene supplies and over the counter medication to migrants at some of the police stations.

The group is funded entirely by donations, which can be made through this GoFundMe.

Police Station Response Team

As more migrants are sleeping in police stations, the Chicago Police Station Response Team has been working to around the city to make sure people’s needs are being met.

With more than 100 volunteers, the group is one of several that have brought homemade meals, extra clothing, bedding and medical assistance to families sleeping on floors and benches.

The group is accepting donations to help volunteers pay for meals, bedding, blankets and other everyday needs. Donations are evenly distributed to every police district and will help alleviate the cost for volunteers, who have spent hundreds on food and supplies for the arriving families, volunteers said.

Interested in joining the team of helpers? Sign up here.

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