Category Archives: Shelter Sites

PADS reaches out to community as shelter season nears

Volunteers from Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) of Kendall County will be blanketing the community over the next two months, sharing how the nonprofit group is helping their homeless neighbors and how they can help, too.

The volunteers will be hosting informal get-togethers at coffee shops, colleges, and libraries as PADS prepares for its eighth season of providing nourishing meals, kind hospitality, and overnight housing at seven shelter sites, each open one day of the week, from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. from Oct. 15 through April 14, 2018.

Those who attend the community outreach gatherings will hear how PADS assists its homeless guests with not only basic needs but also employment, healthcare, social services, and the ultimate goal of securing permanent housing. There will also be time for questions and answers but no one will be under any obligation, according to Anne Engelhardt, executive director of Kendall County PADS.

She explained, “We want people to not feel like they are signing up for anything, just a time to come and find out about PADS from the people in our community who make it work.”

One of those is Caren Farrell, who has served for the past six shelter seasons at Cross Lutheran Church in Yorkville. “I enjoy the people,” Ms. Farrell said. “So many of them are cheerful. It’s always a positive experience. What is most inspirational to me about the guests is their sense of community and how they look out for each other.”

Gregg Wehrs was a PADS volunteer for three years at United Methodist Church of Plano. “I love doing it,” he said. “You get to make friends.” He feels a special kinship with the guests, having once become homeless himself. “I know where they are coming from. You think you have it all and then you don’t.”

Volunteers Always Needed at PADS Sites

By Tom Siebert
Assistant Director for Community Relations
Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) of Kendall County

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.

“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.”

Parkview Christian Academy Serves as PADS Site

By Tom Siebert, Assistant Director for Community Relations

Parkview Christian Academy in Yorkville will be joining six area churches this fall in providing nutritious meals and overnight housing to the homeless as Kendall County PADS starts its eighth shelter season.

“We’re excited,” said Parkview Superintendent Deborah Benson, explaining that she has been receiving favorable feedback from parents about the school’s new mission. “The responses have ranged from very positive to ‘that’s awesome.’”

The need for a new Wednesday night shelter arose earlier this year when the United Methodist Church of Plano announced that it was unable to continue in the PADS program after six years of service. At the same time, Parkview was in the process of purchasing the building that formerly housed the Club 47 fitness facility at 202 East Countryside Parkway to accommodate its expanding enrollment, which has grown to about 350 students.

“God had blessed us with this facility so how could we not share it with the community?” Ms. Benson asked. “We want to teach Christ to our students.”

The private academy went through “a very careful process” before bringing the PADS proposal to its board of directors for consideration, she said. That included contacting representatives of the churches that have been hosting homeless shelters in partnership with Kendall County PADS since 2010. “It was all positive,” she said.

The school’s board voted unanimously to approve the measure earlier this month, to the delight and relief of the nonprofit group, which had been reaching out to the community for a replacement shelter site.

Superintendent Benson said PADS guests will be able to walk directly into the school’s gymnasium, which houses kitchen facilities and a dining area as well as separate bathrooms and sleeping quarters for women and men.

Being able to take a mid-week shower will be an added blessing to the overnight guests of Parkview. The two churches that open shelters on the weekends have shower facilities but the ones that operate during the other four days of the week do not.

The Parkview shelter site will be completely separate from the academy’s classrooms, which are occupied during the day with middle and high school students. “We wanted to make sure that it is safe for all parties,” Ms. Benson added.

The Christian academy, founded in 1997, continues to operate its prekindergarten-through-early elementary school at 201 West Center Street. The rustic building once housed the old Yorkville School and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Each of the seven Kendall County PADS shelters will be open one overnight per week from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. starting on October 15 and ending on April 14, 2018. 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

Several volunteers from United Methodist plan to continue their service to the homeless at Parkview. One of those is Diane Morris, who was the PADS head site coordinator at the Plano church for four years.

“I want to thank all the volunteers who supported and worked with me to provide shelter and hot meals for the homeless,” Ms. Morris stated. “I am also thrilled to hear the new site for Wednesdays will be at Parkview Christian Academy in Yorkville. They will be a wonderful shelter to provide a safe, warm place for the homeless to lay their heads on Wednesday evenings. I look forward to helping out in a new capacity with the PADS program.”

Dick Velders, who served at United Methodist for six shelter seasons, will also be volunteering at the new site at Parkview.

“I was thrilled when Parkview Christian graciously offered their new site at the former Club 47 fitness center, where I had been a member for 18 years,” said Mr. Velders. “I was permitted to view the site after the academy had begun major remodeling and reviewed the facilities, which I strongly believe will work well for the PADS guests.  Now we will vigorously reach out to volunteers to help at PADS and especially the new site.”

Overnight PADS guests receive a hot meal, safe place to sleep, breakfast, and a packaged lunch to go. Kendall County PADS is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) group funded by donations from gifts, grants, organizations, businesses, and private citizens. Those who wish to donate or volunteer may call 630-553-5073 or visit the website at kendallcountypads.org.

The homeless community is also invited to avail themselves of the PADS Guest Assistance Program. The GAP is filled by social work students from Aurora University who help guests with employment, healthcare, personal issues, and permanent housing.

Brittani Dahlman interned at Kendall County PADS during the last shelter season and is looking forward to volunteering during this school year while she studies for her master’s degree in social work at Aurora University.

“I am very excited to be a part of the team working at our new site and am grateful to be working alongside many of our dedicated volunteers in making Parkview our new safe haven for guests on Wednesday nights,” Ms. Dahlman said. “I am very thankful for the wonderful people who have offered this space for the K.C. PADS program, as well as their generosity in supporting our PADS mission and working with us to provide our services to those in need.

“Parkview is truly a blessing.”