Thursday, October 27, 2011

From Woodstock to Chicago With Love—Delivering Aid to Occupy Chicago

Carrie MacDonald and the Rev.  Jennifer Slade with two carloads of supplies for Occupy Chicago

Lisa Jacobsen with her PT Cruiser loaded
Tom Jacobsen, Carrie and Thomas of Occupy Chicago.
Carrie with the young son of a friend who inspired her  efforts and other Occupy Chicago participants.
This Monday members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Woodstock loaded up two cars with supplies for Occupy Chicago and headed into the city. Members of the congregation’s Social Justice Committee gathered the supplies on just four days notice at the suggestion of church member Carrie MacDonald

Lisa Jacobsen described the welcome in Chicago:
Occupy Chicago was amazed when the two cars pulled up at LaSalle and Jackson. I jumped out of the car and grabbed the arm of a tall man who looked like he was “in charge.” I said, “We're from Woodstock, Illinois, and we have two car loads of supplies for you from our church members.”
Within minutes, Thomas took charge and got us over to Grace Place at 637 South Dearborn, common worship space for three religious communities: Episcopalian, Quaker Friends, and a Jewish Synagogue. They have been provided space and services for Occupy Chicago from its inception. As we unloaded the cars and filled up cart after cart we started talking with Thomas, an unemployed cook who's been at OccupyChicago since the third day.
There were 130 arrests the night before we arrived, and many of the people were still in jail; the bail…was more than double from the first arrests.  [They] were feeling distressed about the Mayor’s refusal to grant them a permanent space in Grant Park and the ‘hassles by the police that were increasing at LaSalle and Jackson… But when they heard that a congregation in Woodstock, Illinois – a place they'd never heard of – had been tracking them on the internet and collecting food and supplies, it was a big boost to their spirits. I started to cry as I grabbed Thomas, gave him a hug and told him “thank you so much for what you're doing!”

MacDonald had wished she could join the protestors at Occupy Chicago, a part of the growing national movement inspired by Occupy Wall Street.  The son of a close friend was among those who have been on the scene since the beginning.  But Carrie is the mother of a two month old girl and an active two year old boy. 

Unsatisfied with following events in the news and signing internet petitions, Carrie decided to help out by collecting donations of much needed supplies for the protestors and delivering them to Chicago.

I want the folks who are down there protesting day in and day out to know that there are many of us out here who are behind them 100%.  Even if we can't be there physically for whatever reason, we are with them in spirit,” she said.

She enlisted the support of the Social Justice Committee at her church.

Interim minister the Rev. Jennifer Slade, said Unitarian Universalists around the country have been responding to the growing movement.  She cited a statement by Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President Peter Morales, “Unitarian Universalism embodies a long tradition of working for economic justice and workers’ rights. Today is another opportunity for us to live our faith, and the Occupy protests are a first step on the road to repairing our country.

The committee gathered donations of non-perishable food, blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothing, batteries and other supplies listed as needed by Occupy Chicago on its web site.

On Monday morning Rev. Slade was on hand to see the mission off and accompanying MacDonald to Chicago were Tom and Lisa Jacobsen

The trip was such a success that another is being considered in November.  Next time the Social Justice Committee will invite public donations at a time and a location to be announced.


  1. Hi, Patrick,

    I have started an Occupy Chicago Caring Circle on Meetup. We are non-political-- don't necessarily agreed with everything Occupy says and does -- but passionately believe that they are brave and fantastic. Our intention is to help co-ordinate supply delivery.

    Please check us out at

    Nancy Wade, Organizer
    Occupy Chicago Caring Circle

  2. BTW, I'm a Unitarian, too! Nancy