By Tom Siebert
Assistant director for community relations
Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) of Kendall County, IL
The homeless have many hardships. In sprawling Kendall County, west of Chicago, there is no public transportation. So the toughest challenge can be just getting to the temporary housing shelters that are provided during the colder months by area churches.
However, transportation will continue to be available to overnight guests of Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) of Kendall County, thanks to a $2,200 donation from the local chapter of a worldwide philanthropic organization.
“Congratulations to Kendall County PADS, who was the chosen charity this quarter!” said Amber Dillbeck, president of 100+ Women Who Care of Greater Will County, which meets four times per year to hear five-minute presentations from three local charities.
“After presentations, a private vote is taken and the charity receiving the most votes is given a donation of one hundred dollars on the spot from each member,” explained Ms. Dillbeck, who heads one of the more than 400 global chapters of 100+ Women Who Care.
Karen Allred, a member of 100+ Women Who Care of Greater Will County, and Anne Engelhardt, executive director of Kendall County PADS, display blowup of check representing the donation that the philanthropic group recently gave to the homeless organization.
Last October, Kendall County PADS began its seventh season of providing meals and overnight housing to the homeless at seven churches on different nights of the week.
The shelters are open at 7 p.m. through April 15 on 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, Montgomery.
The overall travel distance from site to site is 57 miles. Moreover, the distance between churches ranges from 5 to 12 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 traversed the treacherous routes on bicycles.
But with the new funding from 100+ Women Who Care, PADS will be able to continue its contract with Yorkville Express, a local taxi service that has been transporting the guests to and from the shelters. Yorkville Express provides rides nine times per week, some days in the mornings. Four nights per week, the taxi brings guests directly to the sites.
“The driver, Rob, really believes in the program,” said Barb Johnson, assistant director for transportation at Kendall County PADS.
Executive Director Anne Engelhardt expressed her great gratitude to the local chapter of 100+ Women Who Care. “This organization truly demonstrates their name through their support for people in need. Their generous financial donation to PADS will go a long way to providing needed transportation to and from the shelter sites for homeless people without vehicles.”
Overnight guests at PADS receive a hot meal, safe place to sleep, breakfast, and a packaged lunch to go. They also receive assistance with employment, social services, and housing referrals.
Kendall County PADS 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.
Ms. Engelhardt added: “PADS is very fortunate to be supported by the greater community through financial contributions and by the gift of time from hundreds of volunteers who are the hands and hearts of the shelter program. Each intentional act of kindness connects the giver and the receiver.”