It’s About Walking Our Talk

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Setting up beds for the overnight shift.

As the weather turns sharply colder, it reminds us of the hardships endured by too many at this time of the year. PADS- Public Action to Deliver Shelter-was founded in 1985 and is the largest provider of interim, or emergency, housing in DuPage County. Its mission is to offer people hope and possibility. They are focused on the promise to end homelessness in our communities. As PADS notes, “it’s about the journey from dependency to self-sufficiency.”

Interim housing offers men, women, and children a safe environment. Volunteers assist staff in providing the following:

  • Dinner, breakfast, and a bag lunch
  • Sleeping space
  • Support activities

There are thirty-one sites throughout DuPage County providing shelter 365 nights a year on a seasonal basis with support from congregational and community volunteers. In Naperville, those sites include:

  • Community Methodist Church
  • 1st Congregational Church
  • St. Margaret Mary

According to the Bridge Communities website, the average age of a homeless person is 8 years old! On January 28th, 2015, 642 people in DuPage County were homeless; 204 of these individuals were in emergency shelters; 80 of those individuals were between the ages of 18-24.

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Tony Michelassi and Regina Brent show off a few gifts.

On December 16th, several NTDO volunteers, under the direction of Carole Kerr, Precinct 13 PC, delivered over 100 pairs of warm cotton socks for adults, donated by NTDO members, to the PADS shelter site at the 1st Congregational Church here in Naperville. Among our (very much appreciated!) volunteers were:

  • Carole Kerr, PC 13
  • Paul Mandrik, PC 52, NTDO Precinct Director
  • Tony Michelassi, PC 35, DuPage County Board Member, District 5
  • Regina Brent, PC 44, Candidate for DuPage County Board, District 5
  • Rose Johnson, PC 20

20151216_175015The impact upon our volunteers was eloquently expressed by Regina Brent who shared “that a six inch mattress, blanket, pillow and hot meal is the answer for one night, but that is not what we as DuPage constituents voted for…families turn to homeless shelters such as PADS to…survive and to keep their heads above water…they are destitute. .. If we fail, they fail.” All of the volunteers expressed support for keeping the needs of the poor, disadvantaged, and homeless front and center with policy makers.

Our thanks to Carole Kerr for coordinating this charitable outreach activity for the NTDO, to all the donors, and to the volunteers who assisted with delivery and set-up of the shelter. Donations may be made at the PADS website.

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Event coordinator Carole Kerr, talking with Regina Brent during dinner setup.

[NOTE: Thanks as so often to NTDO Chair Dianne McGuire for the text above, and for the photos, many more of which can be viewed at the NTDO Flickr photostream – here’s the album for this event. I’m told that Regina Brent took many of the photos, though she’s in lots of them, too, so there must have been at least one other photographer. Dianne, maybe? Steve.]