Local couple looks forward to helping homeless again

Steve and Karen Allred are greatly looking forward to the next several months, when their church will be providing meals and overnight stays to the homeless. The Allreds are site coordinators at Harvest New Beginnings in Oswego, one of seven area churches that will again be hosting the homeless from mid-April to mid-October in partnership with Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) of Kendall County.

“We have been blessed and this is a great way to give back,” said Steve Allred, who has been volunteering for PADS along with his wife since the shelter sites began operating in Kendall County in October 2010.

“It’s very fulfilling,” said Karen. “I always look forward to PADS night at the church.”

About 600 volunteers will be needed to operate the seven shelter sites, according to Anne Engelhardt, executive director of Kendall County PADS. Each volunteer is asked to serve 4 1/2 hours one day per month, as part of an overnight shift or by serving on the food team.

Kendall County PADS will be holding a new volunteer training session at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, September 28, at Yorkville Congregational Church of Christ, 409 Center Parkway.

Several presenters will provide an overview of the local picture of homelessness; describe how the shelter program operates; talk about the roles and responsibilities of various volunteer positions; and cover the topics of safe food handling and safety in general.

“People may come and listen, without making a commitment,” Engelhardt said. “All interested men and women, ages 18 and older, are invited to find out what it means to be a volunteer with PADS.”

For Karen Allred, it means living out her Christian faith. “We know the Lord loves us so we want to show His love to others.”

Adds her husband Steve: “You want to give back–and what a better way to do it! It’s at your church. It’s a safe place to volunteer.”

The Oswego couple have been married for 37 years, have three adult children and four grandchildren, and own their own business. Serving at PADS is a labor of love for them.

“I don’t consider it a sacrifice,” Karen explains. “It’s doing something very important for people. We get so much out of it.”