In April 2019, Marlen Ochoa Uriostegui, a South Shore Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church member in Chicago, Illinois, United States, was murdered while trying to obtain clothes and items for her then-unborn baby. At a community-wide memorial service, her father, Arnulfo Ochoa, called for the community to supply for the needs of the poor and help struggling moms-to-be with clothes, supplies, emotional care, and other necessities.
The Adelante Community Health Center in Berwyn, Illinois, one of the first urban centers in the Lake Union church region, has been able to help do just that through the Adventist Community Services (ACS) Treasure Hunt Thrift Store, established in memory of Ochoa Uriostegui.
The store opened its doors in May 2017, and Manuel Alva, a gastroenterologist and vice president of the Adelante Community Health Center, explains that in addition to the thrift store itself, the center serves the community through health education, cooking classes, psychological support, and a medical clinic. The center hosts weekly worship programs and nutrition classes, as well as monthly cooking classes. Massage therapy sessions are offered during the week, and the medical clinic treats patients four days a week. As a result of these services and activities, three community members were baptized in June 2020.
New Signage Brings Challenges and Opportunities
The store is located along a busy stretch of the historic US Route 66 thoroughfare, and leaders hoped that a street sign would help draw in additional people. A portion of the 2019 Lake Union Adventist Laymen’s Services and Industries (ASi) offering helped purchase an electric street sign prepared by a neighboring business owner.