The number of people experiencing homelessness in Chicago as of January 2015 is at the highest level in a decade. It is estimated that 1,462 women are homeless on any given night. MBT has started giving back to the community by making sandwiches for Sarah’s Circle, a women’s shelter in Uptown.

Founded in the 1970s, Sarah’s Circle provides interim housing with 50 beds and 24-hour shelter. They provide daily essentials, community space, educational and general interest programming, case management and clinical services. Sarah’s Circle works with the women to help them find permanent housing. They also have a 22-unit permanent supportive housing program that helps the most vulnerable women end their homelessness.

During the winter, MBT has taken them warm clothing, scarves, hats and gloves. While they are not accepting clothing at this time, we have a bin in the Social Hall with lists of toiletries and other items that are currently in high demand and items to be replenished regularly. Right now, items most needed are: backpacks, CTA Ventra cards, yarn and small umbrellas.

We plan on continuing to make sandwiches every month. However, in April, we hope to do something different by making and serving a hot meal at Sarah’s Circle. Engaging in conversations with the women at the facility may be comforting, encouraging and caring to them, but it is the sense of giving (Dana) of our time and energy that is so important to us Buddhists.

Please note these homeless endeavors are paid for by our planned events: the Hawaiian Party in May, Used Book Sale in June, Yard Sale in September, Bake Sales and other fundraisers to be scheduled. If you would like to volunteer, donate money or needed items please contact the office (312 943 7801 or office@mbtchicago.org) or talk to Joy Zavala.

by Joy Zavala