Give what you can to the people who need it most

We asked JUF-supported organizations that provide for the most vulnerable people to tell us what clients most need and how to donate

Food_pantry image

Much of Jewish Chicago's "food" issue focuses on the joy of coming together for meals--and elevating food and drinks to an art form. At the same time, let's remember the people in our community who do not have enough food to eat or other basic necessities. We asked JUF-supported organizations that provide for the most vulnerable people to tell us what clients most need and how to donate. Please consider helping.




  • Kid-friendly cereals, flour, sugar, and pasta (Chicago Chesed Fund)
  • Non-perishable food items, like shelf-stable dry and canned goods (CJE SeniorLife)
  • Tea, coffee, and sugar-free candy (CJE Care Management team)
  • Canned soup, vegetable/canola/olive oil, tea, pasta sauce, rice, applesauce, crackers (The ARK)
  • Vegetable, chicken, or beef soups; canned chicken, tuna or salmon, pasta meals, corn, mandarin oranges, peas, carrots; instant coffee (8 ounces); ground coffee (24 ounces); tea (box 16-20 count, herbal and black); cooking or olive oil (no larger than 48 ounces); mustard, BBQ sauce, and mayonnaise (plastic dispensers only, 24 ounces) (EZRA)



  • Gift cards for food/other supplies (Rabbinical discretionary funds through JUF)
  • Diapers (Chicago Chesed Fund)
  • Winter hats, scarves, and gloves, especially for males (CJE Care Management team)
  • Alcohol-free mouthwash, baby wipes, children's diapers sizes 4, 5, and 6 (The ARK)
  • Hand can openers (high need), body wash, deodorant, lotion, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, men's cologne, women's perfume, laundry detergent (powder, 16 ounces) (EZRA)



  • E-gift cards from stores that accommodate online purchases like Target or Amazon (JCFS)



  • " I have never utilized the frozen foods (periodically the fish and cheese) that have been available at no charge to me on my monthly pantry trip. Being that this year is a bit of a struggle financially, I had to take advantage of the frozen foods available for the holidays. I was and still am speechless at what was provided for me today. I do not need to purchase ANY meat, chicken and fish (or the other extra treats that were thrown in!) for the holidays. Thank you for helping to ease the financial burden and providing us with peace of mind." - Chicago Chesed Fund client
  • "Thank you for the hat, scarf, and gloves. When I take my walks, I will think of you." - CJE SeniorLife client
  • "Thank you, I needed the things that you gave me. They were wonderful. I know you put a lot of thought into it. Thank you, thank you, thank you--and of course the chocolate was the best part!" - CJE SeniorLife client



  • "We have been seeing a tremendous need for help as a result of the lingering pandemic state and are so grateful to our donors that enable us to really help those who need it. It makes a huge difference." - Rabbi Yossi Fuerst, Chicago Chesed Fund
  • "The art canvas, colored pencils, paint, and other art supplies, which the family could not afford, made such a difference in the life of my client. These gifts gave more than a smile in the moment; it helps her cope with life stress, manages her anxiety, and encourages self-regulation. Thank you for making a difference." - JCFS staff clinician
  • "Being part of The ARK helps people understand that we all live together, and we all have needs and we need to work together as a community. Being separated individuals doesn't do anything for anybody. Coming in, volunteering, meeting people, giving some assistance--it really goes a long way." - Yvette, The ARK food pantry volunteer



How to contact these organizations:


Chicago Chesed Fund:


CJE SeniorLife:


CJE Care Management:


The ARK:






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