Sincere thanks from PADS

Opinion

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West Suburban PADS recently ended its 13th season of providing safe, warm shelter and three nutritious meals daily to nearly 500 men, women and children who were homeless and came to our door seeking help. The response came from 800 volunteers and local faith communities who made the shelter operation possible. A big thank you is owed to all who contributed to this amazing, community-based effort.

To you meal volunteers, whether you helped by organizing a smorgasbord dinner, encouraging young people to pack sack-lunches, or dropping off breakfast the night before it would be served?#34;thank you. To you site captains and shift volunteers who made bed rolls, helped someone to his/her pad, took the time to listen to someone's story, worked the overnight shift or cleaned up the shelter after it closed?#34;thank you.

Perhaps you were at the shelter because you wanted to donate your professional skills or talents to help someone who couldn't otherwise afford or access greatly needed services?#34;thank you all doctors and nurses at our Medical Clinic, paralegals and attorneys at our Legal Clinic, our volunteer optometrist for establishing our Eye Clinic and Art House volunteers who engaged our guests through the power of art.

Finally, to the 11 congregations that each hosted the shelter one night a week, a total of 241 nights this season without compensation?#34;-in Oak Park, Euclid Ave. United Methodist, First United Church of Oak Park, St. Edmund Catholic Church, Oak Park Temple, Austin Boulevard Church, First United Methodist, and Vineyard; In Forest Park, St. John Lutheran; In Berwyn, St. Mary of Celle and Berwyn United Lutheran and in Franklin Park, Resurrection Lutheran?#34;thank you.

The collective contributions of donated space, volunteer time and prepared meals allowed us to respond by providing a record 11,582 nights of shelter and 34,778 meals this season, a 7.6 percent increase from last year. These in-kind contributions are valued at an awe-inspiring $300,000.

The belief that serving the needs of persons who become homeless requires a community response was again validated this year. The impact our volunteers and supporting congregations had on the shelter program is comforting, far-reaching and tremendously appreciated and so on behalf of our guests, staff and Board of Directors, thank you.

Lynda Schueler
Executive Director, West Suburban PADS

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