Bringing you the stories of how people keep managing to get from daybreak to sundown is what we do at a community newspaper. Week in, week out, we try our best to detail the everyday challenges and achievements of people in our neighborhoods.

In this section of stories about people who got help from social service agencies, we focus even closer on the blessings of enjoying a hot meal at home, getting to the bank and the grocery store on your own, affording an apartment, rejoicing over being able to renew a lease on that apartment, making time to read with a child and securing health insurance for that child when you lose your job.

Our contributing writer for this section, Deb Quantock McCarey, is with us for the sixth annual issue of Community of Caring. For her sensitive reporting over the years, Deb just won the Ambassador of the Year Award from the United Way of Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park.

The stories that Deb has found ring with us all. We may not have a disability or know of a person who does, but in these white-knuckle economic times, we’re all at risk of life-altering losses. And at a time when we might be too done in to think, we need to know about local resources that have our back.

We at Wednesday Journal and Forest Park Review hope that in the details Deb has found about our neighbors who’ve sought help from local United Way agencies, you, too, can mine hope.

So sit back, count your own blessings or grab a pen, and let Deb walk you through some close-to-home stories of second chances and can-do spirit.

If you want to help

United Way of Oak Park, River Forest & Forest Park is a member of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. The local office is at 1048 Pleasant St. in Oak Park.386-4885, uwoprffp.org. The agencies that get help from the United Way of Oak Park, River Forest & Forest Park:

  • Aspire
  • Community Care Options
  • Community Support Services
  • Family Service and Mental Health of Oak Park and River Forest
  • Girl Scouts
  • Hephzibah Children’s Association
  • Oak Park-River Forest
  • Day Nursery
  • The Children’s Clinic
  • Oak-Leyden Developmental Services
  • Parenthesis
  • Sarah’s Inn
  • Seguin Services
  • Senior Citizens Center of Oak Park & River Forest
  • Volunteer Center
  • The Way Back Inn
  • West Suburban PADS
  • West Suburban Senior Services
  • YMCA of Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park

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