CHICAGO (CBS) — We don’t have to tell you – a run to the grocery store is more expensive these days, and the Fed says it’s not going to get any better next year.
And the stress is tenfold if your budget is already tight.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Winter Weather Advisory Remains In Some Areas; Lake Effect Snow Lingers
On Tuesday night, CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra told us about a new demand with which a local nonprofit needs help – and which involves things you may buy on a grocery trip that aren’t food.
Like so many this season, Abie Tayborn was out shopping when we met her Tuesday. But the things she was grabbing off the shelves were just for her.
“If they have a lot of stuff on the shelf, you’re so overwhelmed,” Tayborn said. “You don’t know what to do, which has happened to me before here.”
Part of her joy is that every item is free.
“It took a burden off of me, because I don’t have the money to get some of the stuff that’s in here,” Tayborn said.
The one room where Tayborn was shopping is keeping her and other families afloat. It’s called the Wellness Closet.
“I think the biggest thing I witness is shock,” said Tramaine Martin, head of outreach for Marillac St. Vincent Family Services.
Many people come to their Lincoln Park location at Halsted Street and Webster Avenue for the pantry, but this year, there has been a need greater than food.
“Per week we have about at least about 50 to 60 shoppers, and that’s specifically for the Wellness Closet,” Martin said.READ MORE: Northwestern Medicine Study Gives Clues About How Long COVID-19 Symptoms Can Linger
The stock tells the story – toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, and laundry detergent. If you’re lucky enough to not think twice about replacing those items, you still know prices on everyday items have increased.
That has made tight budgets even tighter.
“I’m not getting it here, I’d probably have to run to the Dollar Tree, because everything there is a dollar,” Tayborn said, “but then, you know, a dollar adds up.”
There is something else the Wellness Closet offers that you won’t find on the shelves – the peace and dignity of a shopping experience without financial stress or shame.
“To come in here and shop like I’m going to a regular store, you can’t ask for anything more,” Tayborn said.
To keep customers like Tayborn cared for, Marillac St. Vincent’s challenges you to think of donating differently this season.
“We always encourage people not to just look at your pantry, right?” Martin said.
Instead, look in your medicine cabinet, or laundry room, for the things that keep your home running. There are people blessed to fill their bags with the gift of those same things.
“What can I say? It’s a lovely place. I love it,” Tayborn said.
There is also a Wellness Closet at the Marillac House at Francisco Avenue and Jackson Boulevard in East Garfield Park.MORE NEWS: 2 Men Seriously Injured After Shooting In Roseland
Marillac St. Vincent’s is welcoming donations of toiletries and other items all through the holidays. Those items can be dropped off at their Lincoln Park or East Garfield Park locations, or donations can be made online.