Waukegan Nonprofit on Serving the Community and Staying Afloat


The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated needs in communities across the Chicago area. 

In far north suburban Waukegan, the Urban Muslim Minority Alliance has been working to help people around Lake County get out of poverty since 2004 with GED classes, job preparedness training, a food pantry and more.

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

UMMA’s food pantry, which used to be open once a week, is now open twice a week to try and meet an increase in demand.

“Quite a few of the other pantries in the area are not able to provide food, or they’ve just closed down,” said UMMA board president Hamaas Ibrahim. “We’re trying to help out and fill that void as much as possible. A lot of people are having trouble either finding a new job if they’ve been laid off and if they haven’t found a new job, they’ve had trouble being able to feed their family.”

The center has also made adjustments to keep the people it serves safe. Pantry clients no longer come in and choose what food they get — instead, they get pre-packaged supplies. And its GED classes have moved online. Ibrahim says that for now, the nonprofit is getting along financially and meeting its goal of helping sometimes-overlooked Lake County residents.

“There’s a huge African American and Hispanic population and it’s been underserved,” Ibrahim said. “The community, the mayor, everyone has stepped up and wants to pitch in and make Waukegan a thriving community”

Ibrahim said UMMA has seen some signs of hope in the form of a generous contribution. During the month of Ramadan, an anonymous donor will match gifts to the center dollar for dollar.


Covid Across Chicago

How is the novel coronavirus impacting local businesses, residents and social service agencies across the city and region? And how are local leaders handling the crisis? We hit the streets to answer those questions and more in our ongoing reporting series, COVID-19 Across Chicago. See where we’ve been and what we’ve discovered in this overview.


Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Neighborhood: 
randomness