By Tom Siebert
In a wide-open county with no public transportation, the homeless often have a hard time just getting to the seven shelter sites run by Kendall County PADS during the colder months of the year.
But thanks to a $2,500 grant from Nicor Gas, the long roads to food, shelter, counseling, employment and other services will continue to be open to PADS guests, according to Anne Engelhardt, executive director of the homeless support group.
“The guests of PADS are people who are often unseen, at the margins of our local society,” Ms. Engelhardt said. “They are poor socio-economically and suffer from mental, emotional and social issues. PADS strives to help them get to local social services and supports them becoming and staying employed. Providing transportation is an important way we can help.”
Mark Knox, director of resource management forecasting at Nicor Gas, and Anne Engelhardt, executive director of Kendall County PADS, hold up giant check representing the grant that the energy company recently gave to the homeless support group.
The grant from the Naperville-based energy company will permit PADS to continue contracting with Kendall Area Transit and Yorkville Express, an area taxi service that has been providing transportation to the homeless guests for the past few shelter seasons.
“Nicor Gas believes it’s important to give back to the communities we serve,” said Mark Knox, director of the firm’s resource management forecasting. “We’re proud to support Kendall County PADS. With our support we can help them meet the basic human needs of our society.”
Mr. Knox and his wife, Cheryl, also volunteer at one of the seven PADS shelter that are open one overnight per week from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. through April 14.
The nights and sites are as follows:
- Sundays, 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 overall travel distance from site to site is more than 50 miles. Moreover, the distance between the sites can be as far as 13 miles, making it difficult for anyone to walk the routes, especially in winter weather, and carrying a backpack or duffel bag. About half of PADS guests do not own vehicles, and in past years, some have traveled the treacherous routes on bicycles.
PADS guests receive a hot meal, a safe place to sleep, breakfast and a packaged lunch to go. They also receive help with employment, social services and housing referrals. Those who wish to donate or volunteer at a shelter site may call (630) 553-5073 or visit the website at http://www.kendallcountypads.org.
Nicor is a natural-gas distribution company, serving more than 2 million customers in an area that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois.