about us

The Self Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines is an independent, 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors. It runs with an staff of 70 volunteers and one part-time employee serving as the Executive Director. The Pantry serves an more than 400 households - all in the City of Des Plaines or with children in Des Plaines schools.

Our Supporters

Local schools, churches, businesses, fraternal organizations, individuals and the city of Des Plaines provide the majority of food and financial support to the Pantry. The Pantry’s trademark “Red Barrels” can be seen in about 50 locations around town and serve as a convenient drop-off point to donate non-perishable food for those in need. Our Red Barrels also serve to remind us of the tremendous support our community provides to those in need.

Our History

In 1971, the Women’s Fellowship Circle of the First Congregational Church of Des Plaines established the Self- Help Closet & Pantry to offer food, clothing and small household items to help families of migrant workers adjust to life in this area. A small group of about ten women operated the Pantry in the church basement for several years. In 1987, the Pantry established itself as an independent, not-for-profit organization. As the client base increased, the Pantry has moved its facility several times to the present location at 600 E. Algonquin Road.

Board of Directors

Steve Pokrak, President

Bill Schoenberg, Treasurer

Ray Bartel

Joan Bucaro-Lopez

Jan Christiansen

Ray Imig

Randy Johnson

Rev. George Schelter

Dorothea Stoll

Aneliya Toshkova

Christine Troglio

Holly Wilson

Executive Director

Debbie Walusiak