Chicago Lights - Elam Davies Social Service Center
Chicago Lights grew from the commitment of Fourth Presbyterian Church to social justice and compassionate service and was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2004. This year, Chicago Lights will serve nearly 4,000 people through the organization’s six signature programs: the Elam Davies Social Service Center, Chicago Lights Academic Success in Schools (CLASS), Free Write Jail Arts and Literacy at the Nancy B. Jefferson Alternative School, Chicago Lights Urban Farm, Summer Day, and Tutoring.
The Elam Davies Social Service Center (EDSSC) meets individuals’ needs while working with partner agencies to support persons on their journey toward greater stability and self-sufficiency. The EDSSC opened in 1983 as “The Door.” Dr. Elam Davies, then Fourth Presbyterian Church pastor, conceived a welcoming, non-judgmental place of help and hope, open to all adult men and women who are food insecure, homeless, living in poverty, or among the “working poor.” With no geographic boundaries or eligibility requirements, “The Door” treated all those who entered with dignity and respect. The program later changed its name to honor the impact of Dr. Davies and, over the years, evolved into a valued social service provider in the Chicago area.
The EDSSC operates three food assistance programs (Sunday Night Supper, Bag Lunch Program, Full Consumer Choice Food Pantry) plus the following supportive services: case management, Share Shop clothing closet, housing information/assistance, computer classes, job readiness training, advocacy, health screenings, and support groups. The EDSSC also provides street outreach and intensive case management services.