Seven nights a week, the Night Ministry brings food, medical aid and social services, like housing assistance, directly to residents of underserved communities.
The Chicago-based nonprofit launched in 1976 and went mobile with its first health outreach bus in 1989.
The Night Ministry’s 38-foot bus is equipped with a nursing station in the back where patients can receive basic medical care in private, a section for distributing coffee or hot chocolate and an area for counseling and consultation from the organization’s case manager.
Staff and volunteers travel to six neighborhoods every week: Humboldt Park, Uptown, South Shore, Pilsen, Back of the Yards and East Garfield Park.
Rev. Faith Miller, the nonprofit’s outreach services manager, said the Night Ministry not only offers basic assistance, but also lends an ear to people in precarious situations.
“If we didn't have that human connection where they know our names and we know their names, it would probably be a little different,” Miller said. “Trying to go into a neighborhood and they don't want you there. But with the human connection, they welcome us there and that's very important to us.”
Chicago Tonight rode along with Miller and the rest of the Night Ministry for a scheduled stop in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.
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April 24: Bringing the doctor’s office to patients when they’re no longer able to bring themselves.
April 20: This fall, 100 homeless families with school-age children will gain permanent housing and support services, thanks to a partnership between the city and the nonprofit Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
March 23: Several South and Southwest Side communities lag behind national health and wellness benchmarks, according to a new community health survey.