Great News from Grundy Area PADS!

Through the commitment of over 300 volunteers, Grundy Area PADS provides emergency shelters at local churches from Mid-October to Mid-April to people experiencing homelessness. In addition, PADS volunteers provide weekly St. Vincent’s Table meals year-round in both Morris and Coal City. PADS will continue to provide these vital services through the generosity and volunteerism of businesses and individuals throughout Grundy County.

Beginning in July 2018, Grundy Area PADS will launch a new program called “Phoenix Rising” that will be added to the umbrella of services PADS provides. Phoenix Rising is a rapid re-housing program that will provide those experiencing homelessness in our area with financial assistance toward housing and case management services to ensure that they are working toward achieving goals that will lead to self-sufficiency, 

Research shows that rapid re-housing is the most successful method of helping those experiencing homelessness become self-reliant and self-sufficient. The goal of Phoenix Rising is to reduce and ultimately eliminate homelessness in our area.

 

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More Than Numbers

The Grundy Area PADS season wrapped up last week with overnight sheltering at local churches. The counseling through Pathway of Hope is still available for our guests. The weekly St. Vincent Table dinners will also continue in the community. We are so thankful for all of the support & volunteers this past season! Here are some quick numbers on what this mission accomplished in our community:

  • Total Guests Served 85
  • Adult Guests 76, Child Guests 6
  • Disabled Guests 10, Diagnosed Mentally Ill Guests 8, Veteran Guests 3
  • Total number of overnight shelter stays served 2,364
  • Average stays per Guest 27.8
  • Total Volunteers Helping over 300
  • Total Churches Hosting Sites 4

These statistics are so much more than numbers. They are people, and love and community. And these numbers make me proud to live in Grundy County!

 

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Reason to Celebrate!

 

PADS volunteers have reason to celebrate because Jeff and Gypsy have a new home! When a volunteer asked him about his new apartment, he said,"This is all I've ever wanted, a place to call my own and friends who I know will be there for me whenever I need them." Thanks to Grundy Area PADS for helping to make this possible for our guest!

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A Beautiful Moment

Please take a moment to reflect on this story about our PADS mission:

“Today was one of those really beautiful early spring afternoons. You know the kind, where finally the pall of winter seems to be lifting. It may only be in the low 50s, but it feels like 70. The sun is shining with a light that seems to dance. The air smells crisp and clean. It was the kind of day where you can feel hopeful about whatever it is that may be troubling you. It was no surprise as I pulled up to the PADS shelter, then, to hear kids playing outside. Their laughter, though, was intermingled with laughter of a deeper octave, combined with calls to “Go long!” and praises such as, “Good catch!...” and more laughter. As I carried food into the shelter, I realized the kids I heard were the young boys that have been staying at PADS for most of this season. I figured they must be tossing the pigskin with their dad until I came around the corner and saw they were not playing with their dad (Dad arrived from work moments later…) but with other guys who’ve been staying in the shelter with them. If you could pluck these people out of this setting just outside of a homeless shelter and drop them into some other surrounding, they could be neighbors enjoying a block party or family members at a picnic. And, I suppose in a very real sense, they have become like family to each other. While we volunteers weave in and out of their community on the weekly or monthly basis that we help at PADS, these adults and children have shared evening meals and living space with each other, in some cases, for many months now. The relationships they’ve formed together as they share meals and conversation around the PADS dinner table every night during this long frigid winter are evident today. The children have been cared for not only by their parents and volunteers but by these new friends who probably feel more like family. PADS guests have been known to help the kids with homework, play games with them, work on puzzles and, on at least one occasion I’m aware of, a fellow PADS guest bought them juice boxes and snacks.

“Homeless” is not an adjective that anyone wants to claim. But, isn’t it a wonderful testament to the human spirit that even in the worst of times, we are capable of such kindness and caring for others? I don’t know why or how any of our guests became homeless. I know that each of them really would like this difficult chapter to end. Still, I am thankful, that during this season when we have had children in need of a warm place to sleep at night that they have been surrounded by some guardian angels disguised as homeless men and women.”

Thank you Denise Gaska for sharing that beautiful moment with all of us.!

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Morris Hospital Supports Grundy Area PADS

Look at the incredible variety of food provided to our guests recently by Morris Hospital! Pork roast meals with mashed potatoes and gravy and mixed veggies! Chili! Burritos! And Strawberry Cheesecake to top it all off! Plus they sent a boatload of muffins for breakfast! Not only does Morris Hospital provide meals to fill our guests bellies many nights of the week, but they also provide the linens we need to wrap them in clean warmth at bedtime EVERY night! We are so fortunate to have a local hospital with a huge heart!!! Grundy Area PADS would be lost without Morris Hospital's consistent, kind and incomparable help!

Girl Scouts Take Action!

Girl Scout Troop 70341 knows when you have a nowhere else to go a home cooked meal can seem like a world away. On March 7, 2018 they visited PADS at First United Methodist Church to make such a meal reality for PADS guests. As a result of the hard work of the girls and their parents a delicious meal of homemade lasagna, garlic bread, garden salad, fruit salad and some truly spectacular cookies was served. Thank you to everyone involved, especially Troop Leader Christy Lamaze and her husband Chris, for all of your kindness. If your group or organization would like to provide a meal please feel free to contact us. We would love have you join us!

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Spreading the Love!

Morris Brownie Troop 75218 visited PADS at First United Methodist Church on Wednesday, February 28. The girls and their parents prepared and donated a wonderful dinner for our guests. They even prepared breakfast for the following morning AND brought items for the our guests to take with them in their lunches the following day! Pictured are Vickie Morrison and Wendy Hougas, who delivered, served the evening meal, and stayed to help clean up.

The Troop is really hoping their volunteerism will inspire others to follow their lead. If you or your organization would like to help, please feel free to message us!

 

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Thanks Minooka Bible Church!

Thanks to the kind & generous folks at Minooka Bible Church for serving dinner last week at PADS. Here are some thoughts shared by Pat from the church: 

"I have a passion for people and giving back can make a difference in someone's life. You never know what has happened in someone's life and sometimes they just need a little encouragement. I met a man who lost his job and home and he was telling me about his day. As he was telling me his story, I was able to give him some information to help him. We need to give guests our time and listen to their stories."

Thanks to everyone at Minooka Bible Church for sharing their time & love with our PADS guests!

 

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St. Vincent's Table

DID YOU KNOW? In the month of February alone, our St. Vincent's Table Community Dinners served 131 meals in Morris on Thursday nights and 318 in Coal City on Monday nights. The overnight emergency sheltering of PADS will come to an end in April, but the St. Vincent Table meals are served year round. Please contact us if you would like to donate or help out. It's an amazing local mission that serves hundreds every month in our community. Join us!

 

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