Filling the need: SVDP opens free supply closet for the community

DeKALB – DeKalb community members in need of toiletry, cleaning and hygienic items can visit a newly created supply closet that is open to the public once a month.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul St. Mary/Christ the Teacher Conference started a supply closet for non-food essentials in October.

The SVDP supply closet distributes personal and household items from 4 to 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at 302 Fisk Ave. in DeKalb.

Guests are asked to wear a face mask and practice social distancing. An ID is required to sign in and receive items.

The non-food essentials pantry will distribute bags of necessary household items that are not covered by food assistance programs. Examples of items include laundry supplies, personal and bath supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, diapers and household cleaning supplies.

SVDP describes the supply closet as a way to lighten the load of community members “so they can spend their money on other daily essentials.”

Volunteer Kathy Dixit said the supply closet is a way to “fill a huge need in the community.”

“SNAP or food banks do not allow for these types of items,” she said. “When St. Vincent had a food pantry, we only had a few of these items, and they were always the first to go. As soon as the items came in, they went out. I think that shows that there has always been a need for these items that has been unmet.”

In addition to receiving a bag full of items, recipients can also have extra pick items: deodorant, shampoo, diapers, razors, facial tissue, toothbrushes and more.

“So many people don’t have these kinds of things, and it’s an opportunity to have your personal hygiene needs filled,” Dixit said.

Donna Brown, president of SVDP, said the supply closet is a way to help people when they need it.

“There is a lot of need, and this is one way to help,” she said. “It’s a way we can be Christ in the community.”

In addition to the supply closet, SVDP also offers limited financial assistance for people who may be facing a temporary life crisis, such as eviction or utility shut-off. For assistance, people in need can call the SVDP’s emergency phone number, 815-761-0430, and leave a message.

SVDP also has a Christmas program distributing Aldi gift cards to families in need for the holidays.

For more information about St. Vincent de Paul Society’s supply closet or to donate supplies or monetarily, visit www.svdpdekalb.org or call 815-200-4730.

Katrina Milton

Katrina J.E. Milton

Award-winning reporter and photographer for Shaw Media publications, including The Daily Chronicle and The MidWeek newspapers in DeKalb County, Illinois, since 2012.