Last week, police sources tallied the number of migrants in all twenty-five police stations in the city after noticing a surge in new arrivals who didn’t have a place to go. They counted 494 individuals on May 9—142 of whom were children.
Some police stations are more overcrowded than others. The 12th district, for example, has allowed between fifty and seventy migrants at a time, according to the Pilsen Food Pantry, which has been donating food.
When asylum seekers arrive at a police station, the officers alert the City and assign them a Service Request Number, according to the group Refugee Community Connections. The migrants will wait—usually sitting or sleeping on the floor—until a charity can transport them to a city shelter.
Police stations are not equipped to provide human services. There is no food, hot water, nor showers, microwaves or refrigerators available. And the wait for an available bed at a shelter or a host family can be as long as ten days, volunteers said.
In the meantime, immigration organizations, ward offices, churches, and pandemic-era mutual aid groups are stepping up to meet their immediate needs.
Helpers are primarily asking for money donations or food donations in the form of: snacks, bottled drinks, bread, fruit, sandwiches, and easy-to-handle hot food like scrambled eggs, tortillas, and rice.
The Weekly encourages donors to check with each group before donating at the information below.
Pilsen Food Pantry / Despensa de Comida de Pilsen
1850 S. Throop St.
New Life Centers
2657 S. Lawndale Ave. (La Villita)
1410 N. Springfield Ave. (Humboldt Park)
Centro de Trabajadores Unidos
11308 S. Ewing Ave. (East Side)
9536 S. Marquette Ave. (Vet’s Park)
Instituto del Progreso Latino
2520 S. Western Ave. (La Villita)
7401 S. Cottage Grove (Greater Grand Crossing)
Erie Neighborhood House
4225 W 25th St. (La Villita)
1347 W Erie St. (West Town)
1701 W. Superior St. (West Town)
The Southwest Collective
6500 W. Archer Ave. (Archer Heights)
Organized Communities Against Deportations – OCAD
2759 S. Harding Ave. (La Villita)
5413 W. Diversey Ave. (Belmont Cragin)
2611 W. Chicago Ave (Ukrainian Village)
Back of the Yards Mutual Aid
2538 W. Devon Ave. (West Ridge)
Albany Park Mutual Aid
Jacqueline Serrato is the Weekly’s editor-in-chief.