Service outreach is being revived this school year to aid those experiencing homelessness in downtown Chicago.
Student-led Homelessness Support Organization Labre Relaunches
Labre, a student-led organization which primarily serves those experiencing homelessness in downtown Chicago is reviving its operations for the 2022-23 school year. For the past two years, the group overseen by Campus Ministries had to put its outreach on hold due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Labre was inspired by the work of St. Ignatius and, specifically, the Labre ministries of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland according to the campus ministry website.
“His devotion and commitment to loving God and loving his neighbor is the foundation of the Labre ministry,” the Campus Ministry website said.
Faculty advisor Krista Chinchilla-Patzke said in an email to The Phoenix the focus of Labre is about uncovering social justice issues with encountering individuals who experience homelessness firsthand.
“After going on a Labre route, students participate in a debrief to reflect on the complexities of homelessness in downtown Chicago,” Chinchilla-Patzke said in an email to the Phoenix.
Now that Labre’s relaunching, its outreach element will now provide students with a weekly opportunity to go out and serve food to people experiencing homelessness every Thursday at 4p.m at the Terry Student Center on Loyola’s Water Tower Campus. Labre is open to all students who are interested, but they must sign up through LUCommunity.
Georgia Burnstein, a Loyola senior who’s been involved with the organization for four years, said that despite the loss of long-standing leaders who have graduated the leading team is being replenished.
“We’re completely rebuilding our whole leadership team,” Burnstein said. “I think it can be challenging in certain ways but it’s also an opportunity to bring a lot of new ideas.”
Juniors Teresa Herring and Madeline Palmquist said they were enticed to join Labre because they wanted to get to know Chicago residents they wouldn’t otherwise meet.
“It sounded like a cool way to get to know a Chicago community that I wouldn’t get to normally interact with,” Palmquist said.
Burnstein said she kept coming back to Labre because of the opportunity to make friends with those facing homelessness.
“It’s like you’re talking to your friend every week that you haven’t seen you know and just kind of getting to catch up with them,” said Burnstein.
“We’re excited to get Labre restarted!” wrote Chinchilla-Patzke.
Labre’s first service event will be held on Oct. 6th and will be following Loyola’s COVID-19 mask and social distancing guidelines.
Featured image courtesy of Madeline Palmquist