By Tom Siebert
Assistant director for community relations
Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) of Kendall County, IL
A poignant part of the Christmas story is a couple needing a safe place to stay for the night.
On Wednesday night, just four days before Christmas, men and women will be seeking shelter at the United Methodist Church of Plano. However, four more volunteers are needed to keep the temporary housing shelter open, according to Diane Morris, a site coordinator for Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) of Kendall County, west of Chicago.
“I stood up in church yesterday and all but begged,” Ms. Morris said Monday. “Actually, I did beg for help.”
In October, Kendall County PADS began its seventh season of helping the homeless at seven churches that hope to continue opening their doors on designated nights of the week through April 16, 2017.
But this season the nonprofit organization has been consistently short of volunteers on four of those nights, according to Anne Engelhardt, executive director of Kendall County PADS.
“I am trusting that we will have more volunteers,” Ms. Engelhardt said. “They are slowly filling in.”
Each season PADS needs nearly 600 volunteers, at least 18 years’ old, to provide overnight shelter, nourishing meals, and caring hospitality to homeless guests. Some volunteers serve two or more times each month, in 4½-hour shifts. And some of the site coordinators serve every week.
At United Methodist Church of Plano, there is a need for male volunteers on the second and third Wednesdays of the month, a male on the third shift on the first and second Wednesdays, and a female on the third shift on third Wednesdays. Those wishing to volunteer may call Ms. Morris at (630) 552-3985 or email her at email@example.com.
Overnight guests at PADS receive a hot meal, a safe place to sleep, breakfast, and a packaged lunch to go. They also receive assistance with employment, social services, and housing referrals.
PADS nights and sites throughout the shelter season are as follows: Sundays at Cross Lutheran Church, 8609 Route 47, Yorkville; Mondays, Yorkville Congregational United Church of Christ, 409 Center Parkway, Yorkville; Tuesdays, Harvest New Beginnings, 5315 Douglas Road, Oswego; Wednesdays, United Methodist Church of Plano, 219 North Hale Street, Plano; Thursdays, Trinity United Methodist Church, 2505 Boomer Lane, Yorkville; Fridays, Church of the Good Shepherd, 5 West Washington Street, Oswego; and Saturdays, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 53 Fernwood Road, Boulder Hill.
PADS of Kendall County is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization funded by donations received through grants, gifts, private donors, organizations, and businesses. Those who wish to donate or volunteer may call (331) 207-8903 or visit the website at http://www.kendallcountypads.org.
Kendall is a relatively small county of 120,000––half of whom are adults––meaning that PADS must tap into two percent of that population to staff the seven shelter sites, Ms. Engelhardt stated.
“I really believe that PADS is as much about the volunteers as it is the homeless guests,” she said. “A volunteer brings people together in the large circle of life. I have learned that we are more alike than different.”