Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines

Serving our Community Since 1971

We are an independent, 501(c)(3) charitable organization serving Des Plaines, Illinois residents with groceries and clothing during a time of need.

769 Holiday Lane, Des Plaines, IL 60016

Client hours: Tuesdays 12:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. - Noon

Registration hours: Same as Client hours above, but we ask that you come at least an hour before the closing time.

Donation drop-off hours: Mondays and Tuesdays 9:00 - Noon; Saturdays 8:30 - 10:00 a.m. at grey door facing Holiday Lane.

View the map of our red barrel locations!

The pantry will be CLOSED on Saturday, December 24. The Pantry will be OPEN on Saturday, December 31.

ATTENTION: WE NEED WINTER COATS, BUT, WE CANNOT ACCEPT ANY MORE CLOTHING DONATIONS AT THIS TIME. We do not have room to store anymore clothing donations. Please take to Goodwill or Salvation Army until further notice.

Announcements for Operations During the Time of COVID-19

The Pantry is OPEN for clients and for donors INSIDE the building. To streamline our operations:

  • Masks are required; we have some available at the check-in desk. If you choose not to wear a mask, park your vehicle at the curb in front of the Pantry and call us to request curbside service for food only. Your turn in line begins after you are checked in.

  • If you are a new client, remember to bring a photo ID for each adult, proof of income and children's birth certificates.

  • Only 1 adult per family will come in the building to shop. We CANNOT accomodate children inside. Please be sure children are under the care of a responsible adult.

  • Clients and volunteers must stay home if they are not feeling well.

Please know that we are doing our best to help our neighbors in need during this challenging time.


Donations of food are always appreciated, and monetary donations will allow us more flexibility at this time.

  • Please send only one representative if possible.

  • Please come during drop-off hours only.

  • If dropping off monetary donations, cash, checks, stamps or gift cards to grocery stores are appreciated.

  • We are only accepting donations of WINTER COATS at this time. THEY MUST BE CLEAN AND IN LIKE-NEW CONDITION. We are also accepting new UNDERWEAR and SOCKS for the whole family. We really need gym shoes in all sizes.

  • We desperately need bed linens (marked with size) and freshly laundered towels.

  • We also need dog food and cat food.

Visit the Donations page for more details and to donate using our secure PayPal account.

Other Local Pantries for People in Need

Items in Short Supply as of December 4, 2022


  • Vegetarian items: soup/meal items in cans, pouches, etc.

  • Soup: ready-to-eat

  • Tomatoes: 15oz cans

  • Side dishes in pouches: mashed potatoes, rice and pasta blends

  • Side dishes in boxes: rice/pasta mixes, pasta sides,

  • Main dishes in boxes: hamburger dinner kits, pasta entrees

  • Mac and cheese: 7oz boxes

  • Ramen noodle packets: 3 oz package

  • Pancake mix: 32 oz boxes; syrup in plastic bottles

  • Saltines

  • Pasta sauce: 26 oz jars (plastic jars)

  • Pasta: 1 lb. bags or boxes of spaghetti, penne, elbow macaroni, etc.

  • Cereal: boxes

  • Oatmeal: boxes of instant packets, 18oz and 42oz canisters*

  • Grape Jam/jelly in jars

  • Milk: shelf-stable or fresh delivered directly to Pantry only

  • Mayonnaise*

  • Vinegar

  • Cooking oil

  • Flour

  • Sugar

  • Ground coffee

  • Ensure or generic

  • Glucerna or generic

  • Salt & Pepper


  • New underwear: men's (all sizes), women's (5-9), children's (all sizes), toddler's (3-5)

  • New socks: especially men's white athletic

  • Puffy winter jackets

  • Men's collared long sleeve shirts and t-shirts

  • Men's jeans and sweatpants and NEW underwear

  • Sweatshirts and hoodies for adults and children - ALL SIZES

  • Children's clothing especially sizes 10 and larger

  • Men's belts

  • Gym shoes

  • Baby diapers sizes 4*, 5*, & 6* only (at this time)*

  • Depends for women and men - Sizes Med. and Large needed at this time

  • Body wash*

  • Paper towels

  • Dish soap*

  • Laundry detergent*

  • Boxes of Kleenex

  • Shampoo and conditioner

  • All-purpose cleaners

  • Cat and dog food - dry

  • Canned dog food

*completely out of stock

> See the full list of donations we accept on the Donations tab.

Note about donations: Please do not leave donations outside the door as they attract neighborhood wildlife, and we must dispose of the items. Drop off donations at the grey door facing the street. Knock on the door and wait for a volunteer to assist during the hours above. Or drop non-perishables in our red barrels around town. Please - NO EXPIRED FOOD

Des Plaines Self Help Closet and Pantry 50th Anniversary (720).mp4

Self-Help Closet & Pantry of Des Plaines 50th Anniversary

This film by Wendy Ellis and Paul Meincke tells the story of the early beginnings of the Pantry and how it evolved into an independent organization - all the while maintaining the early founders' mission to help neighbors in need.