Mundelein High School has long had a small pantry available for residents in need could “shop” for food and clothing items free of charge. Located in the main hallway, it was very small and not private at all for families to shop in. Director of Maintenance and Facilities, Kevin Quinn, and his facilities team have now created a boutique-like Welcome Center located at the District Office Building, adjacent to the high school, at 1500 W. Hawley Street.
Unique about the Welcome Center is that participants from the Transition Center [a program where special education students are able to remain at the high school until they turn 22 years old] have not only set up the majority of the center, but they will also replenish items and re-stock as needed. “This will give them the real-life experience and skills needed to work in a retail store,” said Jamie DiCarlo, assistant superintendent of student services. Families will be able to visit the center on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:15 to 10:45 a.m. when the participants are there.
DiCarlo and Parent Liaison Sol Cabachuela have been working with various organizations like Mano a Mano and the Libertyville Women’s Junior League to obtain donations for the Welcome Center. Currently, the majority of clothes have come from Mundelein School District 76 and MHS staff members.
“The idea is that we will re-stock items through different drives from athletic teams, clubs, and donations from the community,” Cabachuela explained. “For example, we would like to do a women’s undergarment drive for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a hat/glove drive in November.”
The most needed items right now are brand new underwear, bras and socks as well as gently used boys (toddler to teen) clothing, children’s coats, snow pants, gym shoes, and winter boots.