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!