This article was originally published by South Side Weekly.

Earlier this month, police sources tallied the number of migrants in all 25 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. 

Donors are encouraged to check with each group before donating at the information below.


Donation sites in Chicago

Pilsen Food Pantry / Despensa de Comida de Pilsen
1850 S. Throop St.
(773) 812-3150

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)
(708) 790-7760

Instituto del Progreso Latino
2520 S. Western Ave. (La Villita)

7401 S. Cottage Grove (Greater Grand Crossing)
(312) 834-8020
Cashapp $ULON4LIFE

Erie Neighborhood House
4225 W 25th St. (La Villita)
1347 W Erie St. (West Town)
1701 W. Superior St. (West Town)
(312) 563-5800

The Southwest Collective
6500 W. Archer Ave. (Archer Heights)
(708) 740-8914

Organized Communities Against Deportations – OCAD

CommunityHealth Clinics
2759 S. Harding Ave. (La Villita)
5413 W. Diversey Ave. (Belmont Cragin)
2611 W. Chicago Ave (Ukrainian Village)

Back of the Yards Mutual Aid
(708) 305-4016
(609) 240-4029
Venmo @BOTYMutualAid

Nuevos Vecinos 
2538 W. Devon Ave. (West Ridge)

Albany Park Mutual Aid

is the editor in chief of South Side Weekly.