The offer by Oak Park Temple to become the seven-night-a-week host site for Housing Forward’s PADS shelter sits at the top of our long list of generous and humane steps we see all about us in this otherwise overwhelming time of coronavirus.
That the effort was derailed by — what else? — a volunteer testing positive for the virus does nothing to diminish the astounding act of this temple’s congregation. In a moment of profound need to serve those fully exposed to the dangers of this virus, Oak Park Temple unhesitatingly opened its doors. As other religious sites understandably have closed their doors, Oak Park Temple said it would be open every night, that its facility would be fully turned over to meet the needs of homeless women, men and families.
Housing Forward, always among our most resourceful nonprofits, is back into planning, looking, as our reporting shows, for individual rooms for its guests. We don’t doubt they will be successful. And we know for certain they can use the financial help of our readers as they meet this need.
Good for River Forest for its assertive effort to reach its elder population with practical support and essential human connection. Village government has added a temporary coordinator post, the township is all in, and the work is underway. Already more than 100 people have signed on as volunteers ready to jump in to help seniors in town.
Can’t beat the absurdity that an early effort of this willing group will be to make handmade face masks to protect first responders. We are a great nation and a failed one, too. But thank you.
Every enterprise deemed essential in this moment, including this newspaper, would love to offer its dedicated staff some financial incentive for working in this precarious circumstance. We can’t afford it. We hope, for example though, that larger corporations such as Safeway will open the bank for the women and men on the front line at Jewel who stock shelves at all hours and run the cash registers in inevitably close quarters to all of us panicky shoppers.
So we have no issue with the decision last week by District 200 Oak Park and River Forest High School to pay time-and-a-half to all district employees still coming to work. Some are maintenance people keeping the great ship on Scoville Avenue upright. Some are food workers making meals for students who need them.
These are among the workers most endangered by the economic gears being stripped to keep all of us safe. Paying a premium, if you can, is the right thing to do.
Hitting the wall at full force are local independent businesses and particularly our restaurants. Kudos to the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation for throwing up a very useable website over the weekend that gathers up a ton of information on which local spots are still open for delivery and pickup. Go and use CarryOutOakPark.com. We need these places to survive and we all do need to eat.
And finally, these aren’t the circumstances under which we’d like to see Westlake Hospital re-open. But it is an obvious medical facility that is available in the coming crisis of hospital capacity. Rep. Chris Welch is right to be pushing the state to jump at this.