Mostly Cloudy
70°FMostly CloudyFull Forecast

PADS succeeds with volunteers

Organization helps shelter homeless

Published: Saturday, March 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 12:24 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Monica Maschak – mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
PADS site manager Rich Ring hangs out in the hallway Monday as PADS clients have their meal and begin making their beds for the evening at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Cary.

Rich Ring started volunteering to help the county’s homeless before his oldest daughter was born. 

She recently turned 22. 

“I never really was counting it,” said Ring, who is a site manager at the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church homeless site in Cary. “God asks you to take care of the homeless. I’m just doing God’s work.”

Ring is one of more than an estimated 1,000 volunteers who devote time to the Public Action to Deliver Shelter, or PADS, sites.

To shelter its homeless, the county has a day center in Woodstock that is run through the Pioneer Center for Human Services and provides laundry services, mental health counseling and resources such as phones and computers during the day. 

Each night during the seven coldest months of the year – October through April – nine churches also take turns providing shelter and food from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next day.

In 2012, 359 people came through the day center, and 206 to the church sites. PADS coordinator Matt Kostecki believes that number will be higher when the final figures are totaled. The cold winter forced more people inside, he said.

Every Monday, Sts. Peter and Paul in Cary serves as one of the weekly emergency sites in the county. The churches rotate nights with this service. 

As guests lined up outside on a recent Monday night, volunteers were busy setting out 4-inch-thick mattress pads, on top of which they placed carefully folded sheets and pillows. The sleeping arrangements – in one room for men and in another for women – were on the floor about 10 to 12 inches apart.

“We got ’em packed in like sardines,” Ring said as he monitored operations at the Cary church. That night there were 48 people staying overnight, including one pregnant woman and one infant.

Running the sites is a fine-tuned operation, made possible by the generosity of those willing to devote their time and energy.

As the guests filed in one by one, many dropped off earlier by a volunteer-driven bus, there were volunteers to check them in, take their bags, serve them food, listen to their stories. 

“In a world where so much can overwhelm people, I can come here and make a difference for a few people,” volunteer Mary Badgley of McHenry said of why she is a PADS site manager. 

Like many involved in PADS, Ring wants to see the county move from the emergency site system to a permanent shelter in one community, offering those who stay a sense of stability in their transient life.

“We have a shelter for our animals, why not our humans?” Ring asked.

Although the volunteers are there to help the homeless, without them the organization couldn’t survive.

“Our volunteers are really an integral part of PADS,” said Rebecca Heeman-Moore, the PADS church site liaison. “If we didn’t have our volunteer church sites, our clients would not have a place to sleep. Without them, we’d be a much different organization.”

And it’s important to remember that 25 years ago, the organization started with volunteers, and is successful because of them. 

“What they give goes beyond a warm meal and a place to stay, it’s the compassion they offer to our clients,” Heeman-Moore said. “The generosity and kindness of people is really overwhelming. It’s a wonderful thing.”

PADS sites

• Day Center,14411 Kishwaukee Valley Road, Woodstock.

• Monday: Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Cary.

• Tuesday: Christ the King Catholic Church, Wonder Lake.

• Wednesday: Redeemer Lutheran Church, Woodstock.

• Thursday: St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Richmond (men) and St. Joseph Parish in Harvard (women).

• Friday: Christian Fellowship of Crystal Lake.

• Saturday: Cary United Methodist Church.

• Sunday: Bethany Lutheran Church, Crystal Lake (men), and Immanuel Lutheran Church in Crystal Lake (women).

To volunteer, call 815-338-7983.

PADS sites

• Day Center,14411 Kishwaukee Valley Road, Woodstock.

• Monday: Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Cary.

• Tuesday: Christ the King Catholic Church, Wonder Lake.

• Wednesday: Redeemer Lutheran Church, Woodstock.

• Thursday: St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Richmond (men) and St. Joseph Parish in Harvard (women).

• Friday: Christian Fellowship of Crystal Lake.

• Saturday: Cary United Methodist Church.

• Sunday: Bethany Lutheran Church, Crystal Lake (men), and Immanuel Lutheran Church in Crystal Lake (women).

To volunteer, call 815-338-7983.

Previous Page|1|2|Next Page

Get breaking and town-specific news sent to your phone. Sign up for text alerts from the Northwest Herald.

Reader Poll

How do you support breast cancer awareness?
Donate money
Register for a run
Wear a pink ribbon or other apparel
Other
I don't