The homeless receive a lot of attention during the holidays...
Kandall County community poured out heart, help to PADS guests throughout harsh winter
By Tom Siebert
Assistant Director for Community Relations
Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) of Kendall County
Last December the weather in the Chicago area was relatively mild, with daytime temperatures soaring into the upper 30s and even the 40s throughout the month.
That was a welcome start to the winter for guests of Kendall County PADS, who often have to seek warmth during the day, after departing the overnight shelters that the homeless support group provides during the colder months of the calendar.
On Christmas Eve, PADS volunteers were given the night off to attend worship services and spend time with their families. So the homeless guests were housed that night at the Super 8 motel in Yorkville, compliments of the Knights of Columbus from St. Patrick Parish, also in Yorkville. They also received free movie passes from NCG Yorkville Cinemas.
Students from Cross Lutheran School in Yorkville donated socks, deodorant, toothbrushes, and toothpaste to PADS guests. And they surprised a young homeless girl with Christmas gifts at the shelter site at Cross Lutheran Church. The girl was also given a DVD player and movies from Tracy Ams and her colleagues in the cardiovascular and intravenous therapy departments at Edward Hospital in Naperville.
The homeless receive a lot of attention during the holidays but their challenges often increase during the new year, points out Anne Engelhardt, executive director of Kendall County PADS.
“People live in homelessness long after the lights are turned off and decorations are put away,” she said. “They struggle even more as the weather turns cold and winter days drag on.”
But as the wintry weather grew harsher in January, the kindness of the community kicked in on behalf of its homeless neighbors.
During two particularly brutally cold nights, Kendall Area Transit, which partners with PADS, was forced to shut down. However, KAT agreed to keep its PADS routes open, so the guests would not have to walk to and from the shelters in frigid conditions.
Area residents demonstrated their compassion for the homeless in many other ways during the often cold and snowy days of January and February.
Becky Grace of Coldwell Banker, The Real Estate Group, organized a PADS donation drive from staff, clients, and friends. Donated were haircut vouchers, prepaid laundromat cards, gift cards for fast food restaurants, and generous amounts of paper products for two shelter sites with kitchen facilities.
Modern Dentistry of Yorkville also donated 150 bags of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss. The hygiene items were shared between PADS guests and clients of the Kendall County Community Food Pantry. And Boombah in Yorkville contributed dozens of sports bags, which are given to guests who need them to carry their possessions.
Throughout the winter, warming centers are set up for the Kendall County homeless at the Beecher Community Center, Yorkville; Senior Service Associates, Yorkville; Caring Hands Thrift Shop, Yorkville; Fox Valley YMCA, Plano: Kendall County Health Department, Yorkville; Kendall County Public Safety Center, Yorkville; Newark Fire Barn; Montgomery Village Hall; Oswegoland Park District; Oswego Public Library; Oswego Police Department; Plano City Hall; Plano Community Library; Walmart Supercenter in Plano; Yorkville Public Library; and St. Patrick Parish in Yorkville.
For the past nine years, overnight guests of Kendall County PADS have received a hot meal, a safe place to sleep, breakfast, and a packed lunch to go. They also receive assistance with employment, social services, and housing referrals.
The shelters are open from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. through April 20 on:
• Sundays at Cross Lutheran Church, 8609 Route 47, Yorkville
• Mondays, Yorkville Congregational United Church of Christ, 409 Center Parkway, Yorkville
• Tuesdays, Harvest New Beginnings church, 5315 Douglas Road, Oswego
• Wednesdays, Parkview Christian Academy, upper campus, 202 East Countryside Parkway, Yorkville
• Thursdays, Trinity United Methodist Church, 2505 Boomer Lane, Yorkville
• Fridays, Church of the Good Shepherd, 5 West Washington Street, Oswego
• Saturdays, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 53 Fernwood Road, Montgomery
The homeless support group has more than 550 volunteers who serve at least four hours once per month, some more frequently. Volunteers are currently needed on the 3 a.m.–7 a.m. shifts on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Ms. Engelhardt singled out several volunteers who have met emergency shift needs, serving extended hours at the shelters. They are Dick Velders, Greg Wehrs, Carolyn Krisciak, Pat Millen, Kristie Vogel, Ang Zenofio, and Ilaine Jessup.
PADS of Kendall County is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) group funded by donations received from grants, gifts, individuals, organizations, and businesses. Those who wish to donate or volunteer may call (630) 553-5073 or visit the website at kendallcountypads.org.
“All of our regular volunteers continue to come every month, some multiple times per month, to quietly and humbly serve the homeless people,” Ms. Engelhardt said. “Our season of giving by the volunteers in PADS continues every night for 26 weeks.”
Related articles at XPian News: https://xpian.news/category/aurora/