Welcome To
The South Suburban
Joy Emporium

Joy Starts With Community

Join Us And Experience Life From Another Perspective

At the Joy Emporium we believe Joy starts with Community and a foundation of support. Our Mission is to Grow Joy in the Community by Creating Opportunities for Neighbors to Help Neighbors.  We provide Emergency Hardship Assistance and Ongoing Support for Youth, Adults and Seniors in our Community. We Partner with Individuals, Families and Organizations to Achieve our Goals and are 100% Volunteer Based. We want to make it easy for anyone to serve their community with purpose! Simply by reaching out to our Kind, Talented, Generous Neighbors, we are building a robust calendar of impactful programs, fun events, clubs and classes, health screenings & emergency services. We plan to offer job coaching, training opportunities and beyond to a neighborhood near you! We are hosting Hot Meals, Grocery Giveaways & Food Drives, Virtual Depression Meetup Groups, Men & Women Empowerment Groups, Free Emergency Hardship Assistance,  Senior Support Services & MUCH MORE! Check out our Calendar of Events for More Information & If You would like a copy of our South Suburban Joy Emporium Resource Guide, email us at ssjeinfo@gmail.com!

We can't do Any of this without the Kindness of our Volunteers and Donors like you! Please Donate today! All Donations are 501c3 Tax Deductible! 
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Emergency Support Services

If you are in need of Emergency Services, Food, Shelter, Legal Advice, ID, Clothing, Medical or Other Support contact us today to get connected with immediate aid at ssjeinfo@gmail.com. Stay tuned for upcoming events and opportunities to meet with our volunteer Nurse Practitioners.

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Life Coaching & Support

Join our Virtual Depression Meetup, LGBTQ Meetup, or Meet with one of our team of volunteer coaches and get connected to services, support and guidance to help you overcome and grow towards your goals.

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Community Clubs & Classes

We are rolling out an Array of Free Clubs & Classes for individual members of our community, everything from Engaging Youth Programs to Men & Women Empowerment Groups to Senior Advocacy Events. Our network of volunteers keeps us moving forward. Check our event calendar for upcoming programs.

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A Great Place To Get Involved

Do Something That Feels Good - While Helping Someone Else


Donation Amount

  •  7/20/2024 09:42 AM
  •   14700 Pulaski Road, Midlothian, IL, USA

All Proceeds from a Fire Sale will benefit the Homeless Outreach programs here at South Suburban Joy Emporium.

  •  7/27/2024 07:00 PM
  •   West 155th Street & Pulaski Road, Markham, IL, USA
  •  8/17/2024 11:00 AM
  •   14700 Kildare Avenue, Midlothian, IL, USA

Open to the Entire South Suburbs, Come join us at our August Fresh Produce Market - All Items are Free, Bring A Tote! First come First Served until all items are gone! Over $150 Work of Grocery Items typically offered per guest.

  •  8/31/2024 06:30 PM
  •   Rubio Woods, Picnic Grove 3, Bremen Township, IL, USA
  •  9/20/2024 06:00 PM
  •   Blue Island, IL, USA

Tickets on Sale Now at LyricTheater.com! https://www.lyrictheater.com/events/2nd-annual-joy-gala-benefiting-south-suburban-joy-emporium-fri-9-20-doors-open-at-6pm We are also looking for Sponsors and Raffle Items!

  •  6/15/2024 11:00 AM
  •   14700 Kildare Avenue, Midlothian, IL, USA

Open to the South Suburban Community! Joy Market! Free Fresh Produce and More! Bring a Tote Bag, Beginning at 11am until all the food is gone!!

  •  6/1/2024 07:52 AM
  •   14700 Kildare Avenue, Midlothian, IL, USA
  •  1/13/2024 11:00 AM - 1/13/2024 01:00 PM
  •   14700 Kildare Avenue, Midlothian, IL, USA

Join us for Lunch while we pack Emergency Backpacks for our Homeless Neighbors In Need. A Special Thank You to Suburban Service League for the financial support allowing us to create 50 bags filled with Essential Toiletries, Food, Hats, Gloves, Scarves, Socks, Hand Warmers, Feet Warmers, Gift Cards, Resource Info & more to help get through the season. Please RSVP by January 10th at ssjeinfo@gmail.com. We hope to have 10-15 helpers and may have a special announcement!! Thank you!

  •  11/2/2023 06:30 PM
  •   Chicago Ridge, IL, USA

A meeting of minds and helping hands. We are bringing together our friends in service in the South Suburbs to discuss issues, share decisive information, build purposeful partnerships and create a concise 2024 South Suburban Support Services Resource Guide to be distributed everywhere we can make an impact!

  • $125
  •  9/22/2023 06:00 PM - 9/22/2023 10:00 PM
  •   12952 Western Avenue, Blue Island, IL, USA

Dress To Impress and Open Your Hearts to the 1st Annual Joy Gala! Join us ~Friday, September 22nd ~ at the Newly Restored, Art Deco Inspired, Historic- Lyric Theatre! Where: Lyric Theatre 12952 Western Avenue, Blue Island IL 60406 When: September 22nd 2023 Doors Open at 6pm Dinner at 7pm Sinatra, Buble' and Timberlake Crooner James Libera Performing, Open Buffet, Open Cocktail Bar, Nostalgic Whimsy & Joy Bar until 10pm Tickets On Sale Now at Lyric Theater or Eventbrite! Link: www.lyrictheater.com Thank you for helping provide much needed funding to benefit our neighbors in need of emergency resources, shelter, nutrition, clothing & furniture, health services, mental health services, as well as free events & education, senior advocacy & youth outreach. We have helped hundreds of members of our community since establishing our 501c3 this past year and plan to keep up that momentum with your help! We believe everyone experiences hardship in their lifetime and so we spread a message of "No Shame" helping individuals and families grow from 'Merely Surviving' to 'Joyfully Thriving'. The need for emergency resources has grown substantially, with the cost of inflation and post-covid recession, driving many to go hungry or unable to afford housing. Combine this with an influx of refugees and asylum seekers to the Chicagoland area and many service providers are overwhelmed, unable to meet the demand. Please help us provide basic necessities to our neighbors in need while bringing joy back into our community! To see how we have been impacting our community, check out our timeline of events, sign up for upcoming volunteer opportunities, or make a donation today, visit: www.southsuburbanjoyemporium.org

  •  7/29/2023 01:00 PM

Mom & Dad Do Not have to lose their entire savings to a senior care facility. Bring the family and discuss planning for retirement, How to Safeguard the family against financial burdens and how to plan for senior mobility issues and other health restrictions. We have New York Life (Retirement Planning), Popovic Law (Estate Planning) and Sahara Home Services coming to discuss your options.

  •  7/25/2023 06:00 PM

Join our Kitchen Supply Shower in support of Zelda's Kitchen Witches that stocks homes for families and individuals in transition. Bring a new packaged item to donate and enjoy learning about our cause and the success we have had so far!

  •  6/28/2023 06:29 AM
  •   1529 South Harlem Avenue, Berwyn, IL, USA

Join us Wednesday June 28th from 6pm-7pm as we discuss our Achievements this past year and the Challenges facing the South Suburbs today. We are raising major funding for two major initiatives. Emergency Housing- Which we plan to offer temporary housing via negotiated rates through our partners, as well as starting the process of getting a license to run a Group Home for families and individuals in transition. Some people just need just a little help and stability to get back on their feet. We are promoting The Joy Gala September 22nd and looking for sponsors! We are also sharing information about our upcoming Senior Planning Class, Youth Programs and looking for viable locations for Our 2nd Home. We hope to see you at this Summers Volunteer Call Out!

  •  4/12/2023 03:00 PM
  •   720 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL, USA

Join SSJE in giving back to an organization that supports not only multiple non-profit service organizations around the Chicagoland area, they provide ongoing meals, education, jobs training, housing and help to hundreds of individuals per week. SSJE is sponsoring a meal for approximately 120 members of our homeless and underserved communities hosted by CHI 4/12/23. Volunteers are welcome, please contact us today to sign up. We are also looking for donations to help cover the cost of the meal, main protein, 2 sides, salad, bread and dessert. Please donate today on our home page. We have served with the C.H.I. team and they have served among us and we thank every volunteer and donor supporting our community!

  •  3/13/2023 11:00 AM - 3/13/2023 02:00 PM
  •   Oak Forest, IL, USA

We will be teaming up with our local Mary Kay Rep. Maria Gonzalez and providing a Brunch & Learn for our local Seniors at New Horizons. Not only will we enjoy learning the latest in skin care secrets, multiple free senior services & vendors will be on display for you to take advantage of! More Details To Be Announced - If you would like to volunteer or donate to this event please visit our home page or contact us today.

  •  2/28/2023 06:30 PM
  •   12218 South Harlem Avenue, Palos Heights, IL, USA

We are looking for Passionate and Dedicated Volunteers to Join SSJE and help bring Free Support Services to the South Suburbs. Join us to learn all about SSJE's Mission & Our Year Ahead! When: February 28th, Tuesday @ 6:30pm Where: Joe Daniels, 12218 S Harlem Ave, Palos Heights IL **Bring a donation for your Local Food Pantry. Unopened and Unexpired Items Needed: Canned Soup Canned Broth Canned Tuna/Meats Canned Vegetables/Fruit Ramen Noodles Elbow Noodles Pasta Sauce Peanut Butter/Jelly Brown/White Rice Cereal/Oatmeal Cooking Oil Sugar Flour Cake/Brownie Mix Hamburger Helper

  •  1/30/2023 11:06 PM - 12/31/2023 12:01 AM

WE CURRENTLY MEET ONLINE. WEEKLY Visit the link below and click "Join This Group" You will then receive an email with a link to our next meeting and a list of a few other meetings hosted by Peers, including Support Groups for individuals of Color and LGBTQ. https://www.meetup.com/depressiontby/ Sometimes depression has a cause, such as job loss. Sometimes it doesn't: chronic depression just comes and goes. This group is for anyone who suffers from depression for any reason or none at all. This group does not have a therapist. We don't do therapy techniques or symptom management or anything like that. We're just people who talk about our lives and give each other emotional support.

  •  11/24/2022 01:00 PM - 11/24/2022 04:00 PM
  •   Chicago Ridge, IL, USA

Bring Yourself or the Family to Chicago Ridge Legion Hall and Join our First Ever SSJE Community Thanksgiving Dinner!

We set the bar high with our Inaugural Joy Gala!  Sept 22nd will go down in history as the most beautiful, nostalgic and wonderous evening the South Suburbs have seen!

Special thank you's are in order to The Lyric Theater for the allowing us to host at this historic venue, James Libera for his phenomenal talents, we've gotten so many compliments on the entertainment and food! Thank you Beggars Pizza for catering and providing so much support throughout this event! Sweet Treats provided by Jacquelyn Jenke, Braydi Wilkin, Eileen Callahan Hermann and South Suburban Joy Emporium. To all of our donors, sponsors and raffle donors! Thank you! Everyone was excited for the charity, generosity poured in, and everyone had a real ball! We appreciate you all so much!
#JoyGala #JoyGala2023 #InauguralJoyGala #charity

Established SSJE

Founded on a concept of "everyone struggles, so no one should struggle alone" South Suburban Joy Emporium was created. Immediately fundraising to create "Our 2nd Home" where everyone is family and you are welcome to come be reconnected with hope.


Thanksgiving Dinner

Our First Ever Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Chicago Ridge VFW Legion Hall. Donations poured in from all over, catering from local restaurants included Zacharie's and Fill A Pita. We served and dined together, we raffled off great prizes and gave away resource packs to our underserved. Nothing went to waste as we were able to provide a much needed donation of Thanksgiving Fixin's to the Oak Forest Horizon Senior Home as well.


Depression Meetup Founded

Introducing a Depression Virtual Meetup Group was one of the first things we addressed in our community. We identified early on a need for peer to peer connection, especially since the isolation of Covid. Our Depression Virtual Meetup Group allows you to engage safely and discuss issues openly in a Peer Group setting.


Fundraising for Emergency Shelter

After meeting with CCSS and our auxillary board of volunteers, as well as engaging with the over 5600 asylum seekers newly residing in Chicagoland, and discussing the lack of shelter with several state funded housing and private charitable shelter organizations, we have identified a need for emergency shelter on the south side as well as necessities like food, clothing and furnishings to help those in transition. We aim to open The Thrive Community Shelter in partnership with Chicago area humanitarian organizations and with help of donors and volunteers like you!


Volunteer Call Out Food Drive

Our first ever 'Volunteer Call Out' was a huge success, packing the house at Joe Daniels, enlisting a few new Board Advisors, and several New Volunteers and Organizations we look forward to partnering with in the future! Thank you everyone who donated Funds or Food. We were able to donate two car loads full of Pantry Items to Elsies Pantry of Hickory Hills & St Stephen of Mildothian. We are truly grateful to see so many of you see the need in our area, and that you want to be part of the solution!


MakeUp & Mimosa - Senior Expo

Thank you everyone who joined us for some skin care and senior services! It was great getting to know you and sharing information about Sahara Senior Care, the May Midlothian Senior Prom and more while enjoying sparkling cocktails and delectable churro cheesecakes provided by Sweets & Cravings Creations Posen. This event at the Horizons Senior Community in Oak Forest was sponsored by SSJE & Maria Gonzalez of Mary Kay.


March Mania Fundraiser

Thank you Everyone who Joined in on our March Mania Fantasy College Hoops Fundraiser, hosted by South Suburban Joy Emporium. We raised $1000 towards this year's goal of $50,000 for our facility, programming and resources. Every bit Helps the Cause & Congratulations to our Winners!


CHI SSJE Rockafeller's Sponsorship Dinner

This community meal of Lemon Chicken, Fried Chicken, Steamed Broccoli, Yams, Potatoes & Rolls, was sponsored by Rockafeller's of Oak Lawn & South Suburban Joy Emporium! Thank you Volunteers who came out to serve over 250 members of our hungry and homeless community! Our headcount doubled just 2 weeks ago with the influx of asylum seekers. We were ready to step up and help those in need at a moments notice. It was a beautiful day and not a frown in town!


Partnership with Zelda's Kitchen Witches

In partnership with Zeldas's. SSJE hosted a Kitchenware Shower July 28th, 2023 donating dozens of brand-new kitchen items from cutlery to coffee makers! We continue to work together creating a kitchenware pantry for those that Zelda's is unable to serve. Our teams combined to create a Children's Playbook full of mindful exercises, art and activities for children in crisis to interact with. Consulting with local school boards and child development specialists for input in creating this amazing tool. This will no doubt, be a crucial tool in aiding our mothers coming out of the crisis centers and into transitional housing.


Resource Guides

SSJE went to work creating a database of every support services organization, church and public service in the South, Southwest and Western Suburbs of Chicagoland. We are designing a resource guide to be distributed at all police stations, hospitals, churches, town halls and beyond. We plan to keep this updated annually with the generosity of donors like you!


Inaugural Joy Gala 2023

We set the bar high with our Inaugural Joy Gala! Sept 22nd will go down in history as the most beautiful, nostalgic and wonderous evening the South Suburbs have seen! Special thank you's are in order to The Lyric Theater for the allowing us to host at this historic venue, James Libera for his phenomenal talents, we've gotten so many compliments on the entertainment and food! Thank you Beggars Pizza for catering and providing so much support throughout this event! Sweet Treats provided by Jacquelyn Jenke, Braydi Wilkin, Eileen Callahan Hermann and South Suburban Joy Emporium. To all of our donors, sponsors and raffle donors! Thank you! Everyone was excited for the charity, generosity poured in, and everyone had a real ball! We appreciate you all so much! #JoyGala #JoyGala2023 #InauguralJoyGala #charity #neighborshelpingneigh ors #chicago #southside


Partnership with The Kindness Campaign

Partnering with Kindness Campaign, Fight to Feed, Our Local Midlothian Chamber and Bremen High School to bring Food Equality to everyone with our Pop-Up Free Fresh Markets! We were able to put on Two Successful Events in the month of October with plans to do monthly at alternating locations across the South Suburbs. Stay Tuned to our Facebook Events Page for more info!


Bridging The Gap to End Homelessness

October 2023 marks the launch of our Bridge Program providing a limited layover stay at a temporary shelter for individuals and families in need. With Support from our Partners at Respond Now, Beds Plus, Lester's Place, Morning Star Mission & Several Other Shelter Providers, SSJE has cultivated a plan that has aided two individuals and two families so far obtain crucial resources like clothing, food, toiletries, and temporary shelter until they can move into a longer term housing program. This program is crucial to bridging the gap many individuals and families feel when facing homelessness. We are able to prevent homelessness, create an action plan and allow these neighbors of ours to retain work, and continue to grow while getting back on their feet.



Our Emergency Services are in Full Force this Winter Season. We have been supporting Beds Plus new shelter facility in Oak Lawn and Summit with meal donations and aim to cultivate that program to provide dedicated weekly times for our volunteers to prepare, deliver, and serve our neighbors in need. We have been successful in housing on average 4-6 individuals and families per month through our Hotel Bridge Program and Partnerships with Respond Now, Beds Plus, MorningStar Mission, Lesters Place and Crisis Centers of South Suburbia. We have identified a location for "Our 2nd Home" and look forward to expanding our services in the coming year.


Homeless Outreach

After hosting a very successful coat drive we will be spending the Holiday passing out supplies, warm jackets and other essentials to our underserved communities. Thanks to Grant Funding from Suburban Service League we are able to create 50 Emergency Packs for homeless facing the bitter cold elements this season. These life saving packs are being assembled by our volunteers January 13th, 2024 and then distributed as needed to homeless individuals and camps around our area.


2024 And Beyond!

Its amazing how much has come together in 2024! -We are partnering with South Suburban Coalition for the Homeless and a few Sponsors to open Temporary Transitional Housing Shelter and Group Home to serve our growing homeless population made up mostly of Seniors and Disabled. -We average about 10 calls a day now for hardship assistance. -We have successfully teamed with Zeldas Kitchen Witches and Gifts for Hope to meet the needs of our neighbors facing hardship -Teamed with Sleep in Heavenly Peace Oak Forest to build over 25 beds in our parking lot with 200 local volunteers engaging and building community -Our team has delivered 12 Beds to families who have reached out -Made and Served over 1000 Lunches -Dr Carla from the Cognitive Clinic in Palos joined our Board to help run our Outreach Team and Spearhead our Clinical Social Work Dept (as soon as we open our doors) -TCA Health and Northwestern are on board to offer free health screenings -We have assisted 45 requests in 2024 for food, gas, rent/utility help, furniture, transportation to treatment, resume help, job placement, and connecting with other services such as CCSS Domestic Violence Intervention and Pathlight's Senior Care all in hopes of diverting homelessness and increasing joy! -Our "Thrive Community Center" is due to Open July 7th after completing much needed compliance upgrades and adding our ADA Compliant Bathrooms with Community Showers!


Jacquelyn Jenke

President, Founder, Director of Outreach

With 25 years working with outreach teams at the YMCA, Chicago Help Initiative, Zeldas Kitchen Witches and more, Jacquelyn is passionate about bringing solutions to communities. Jacquelyn's vision for Joy Emporium stems from Lived Experience and her insights have help mold the thoughtful programs and volunteer opportunities, allowing neighbors to engage and find purpose.

Eileen Hermann

Director of Finance, Founder

As an experienced Business Owner with background in Finance, Eileen brings a wealth of expertise in team building, budgeting and event planning as well as real knowledge of the struggles in todays housing market. She is passionate about the Power of a Positive Mindset and brings a holistic approach to healing individuals and the community.

Braydi Wilkin

Office Manager, & Founder

Braydi brings a ton of compassion, a background in social services and a heart for giving back to our community. She is a skilled grant writer dedicated to helping grow our budget allowing us to expand our services. Braydi is driven to help others go from surviving, to thriving and she is crucial to the growth of our organization!

Andrew Bieganski

Chief Creative & Meal Delivery

By volunteering his award-winning, graphic design talents Andrew is an asset to the success of our Culture, Brand and Success. Kind, Warm and Skilled at event marketing, he also is one of our most dedicated volunteers delivering lunches weekly to over 150 individuals and families in need. He embodies the slogan "teamwork makes the dream work."

Dr Carla Carter

Clinical Director

Beginning with a Career in Education, Dr Carla acquired her Bachelors Degree in Special Education from Northern Illinois University. After pursuing a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University and a Doctorate in Education & System Reform from Loyola University Chicago, Dr Carla switched avenues attending the Adler School of Professional Psychology earning a Master Degree in Counseling with focus on mental skills and performance. We are grateful to Dr Carla for her commitment to making our community a brighter and healthier home for all.

  • Midlothian, Illinois, United States

If you are facing Homelessness or in need of Support Services please email us directly at ssjehelp@gmail.com