Elam Davies Social Service Center

Welcome to the Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center.
We welcome and support adults in times of need by offering individual supportive service assistance, including food, clothing, and referrals to other social service agencies.

For thirty years the Center has carried out the vision of former Fourth Presbyterian Church Pastor Elam Davies: to serve those in need with dignity and respect. Our success is sustained by well-structured, responsive programs, which are described below.

Please note that the Elam Davies Social Service Center does not provide any financial assistance.

Hours | Food Pantry | Share Shop | Case Management
Volunteer Opportunities | Contact Information
| Photos


9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

Closed from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday for staff lunch

Closed from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Tuesdays for staff meeting

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Food Pantry

By appointment only

  • Groceries provided for guests
  • Eligibility is once a month
  • Cooking limitations and dietary restrictions accommodated
  • Through Consumer Choice, guests are given a shopping list and volunteer aide to guide them as they fill their cart with the allotted number of items they’d like from the pantry
  • Eligibility is based on proof of address. As of March 2014, the pantry serves people residing in the following zip codes: 60601, 60602, 60603, 60604, 60606, 60610, 60611, 60654, 60661
    • In order to receive pantry services, guests must provide staff with a picture ID and address verification. For more information or to find a pantry near you, call the Greater Chicago Food Depository at 773.247.3663.

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Share Shop (Clothing Closet)

By appointment only

  • 20-minute sessions for the clothing closet
  • 2 shopping bags provided
  • Eligibility is every two months

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Case Management

With the goal of helping guests make progress and accomplish meaningful change in their lives, the Elam Davies Social Service Center offers short-term and/or intensive, year-long case management, focusing on individualized goals and assistance with access to resources. Referrals include housing, employment, health, legal, education, counseling, and government benefit access resources.

  • Short-term: Schedule appointments to work on short-term goals and access to additional resources
  • Long-term: The Open Doors Project is a year-long program with both weekly individual and group support sessions

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Volunteer Opportunities

  • On-call aides for the Consumer Choice Food Pantry to help guests on Wednesday or Thursday mornings and other times as needed
    Through Consumer Choice, guests of the food pantry are given a shopping list, and the volunteer aide will guide them as they fill their cart with the allotted number of items they’d like from the pantry.

  • Share Shop sorters to go through donated clothing items and assistants to guests selecting clothing
    Shifts available are weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon or 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Volunteers may work alone or in small groups on a rotating schedule.

  • On-call food pantry truck unloaders to help unload the food truck, put away groceries in the Consumer Choice food pantry, and break down empty boxes
    Volunteers will be scheduled on the second and fourth Fridays of the month, usually in the morning, on rotation.

  • “Good Neighbors” to greet and offer lunches, hygiene kits, and toiletries to our homeless and at-risk-of-homelessness neighbors
    Volunteers will perform daytime street outreach in small groups on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Administrative volunteers to assist with tasks as needed

  • Donations of new and used clothing, nonperishable food items, clean towels, toiletries, and more are gladly accepted by the Social Service Center.

All volunteers are invited to attend a one-hour orientation session and learn more about the Social Service Center.

Upcoming Sessions
Thursday, October 20
Thursday, November 17
Thursday, December 15
3:00–4:00 p.m.
at Fourth Church

Opportunity to tour the Social Service Center will take place following orientation.

Register online here.

For more information or donate items, contact Jill Keiser (312.981.3590).

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Contact Information

          126 E. Chestnut Street
          Chicago, IL 60611.2014

          312.787.2729, ext. 2222



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Peace and Mindfulness at Chicago Lights | July 18, 2016

31st Hunger Walk | June 25, 2016

Open Doors Project Graduation | May 5, 2016

Social Service Center Volunteer Appreciation | April 11, 2016

Getting Crafty with Millward Brown Volunteers | April 7, 2016

Groupon Helps Community in Need | April 6, 2016

Kent State Volunteers: Card-Making at the Social Service Center | March 24, 2016

Christmas with Open Doors | December 10, 2015

Greenheart Volunteers at the EDSSC | October 8, 2015

Associates Board Serves as Good Neighbors | August 30, 2015

Open Doors Project Graduation 2015 | May 13, 2015

Hunger Walk 2015 | June 20, 2015

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More information about the Elam Davies Social Service Center is available on the Chicago Lights website or by contacting Jackie Lorens (312.981.3567), Director.

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