For those of you not from McHenry County, PADS stands for Public Action to Deliver Shelter. From October 1 to the end of April clients are sheltered in rotating sites around the country located in churches and staffed by volunteers. A handful of “transitional cases” are accommodated at the agency headquarters in rural Woodstock or are assisted with long term shelter. The vast majority, however, are left to shift from themselves in the warmer months. For many that means living in clandestine camps scattered across the country in repentant patches of woods. Literally modern hobo jungles. And just as welcomed by the authorities.
To help these folks survive the summer the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation now in McHenry is collecting needed supplies and delivering them to the PADS office each Monday, when many clients come in for services, to collect mail, or to shower.
Lisa Jacobsen made the first delivery of the season yesterday. This is how she described the experience in an e-mail:
This morning I went to the PADS office on Kishwaukee Valley Road,
opened up the back of my little car, and watched about 60 pounds of food,
cutlery, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, deodorant, can openers and Kleenex
disappear in 20 minutes. people in the parking lot were opening cans of
baked beans and eating them as they walked away. 13 jars of instant
coffee were gone in 5 minutes.
The need is overwhelming.
Tom and I funded the carload full this morning, but at this rate we won’t
be able to keep up with the need for basic supplies, and that’s why
I’m asking for your direct help.
This morning I was asked if I could find:
-- an air pump to fill up flat bicycle tires—any condition as long as it works!
-- coolers—any size, any condition.
—and more mosquito repellant!
Whatever you can contribute—Whenever you can contribute—it
will be greatly appreciated. I left this morning well-hugged & thanked!
Below is the contents of a flyer describing the program,Compassion for Campers, the problem, what is needed, and how to contribute.
The PADS season ended on April 30th. People often ask, “What happens to the homeless over the summer?” They don't move to their summer homes on Lake Michigan; they don't go back to work at their white collar jobs. They live in their cars (if they're lucky enough to have one). They live in deserted fields. They camp illegally in quiet places under bridges and in parks. And when they are found by the police, sheriff deputies, or park officials, their camps are destroyed and everything they own is confiscated. Being homeless brings with it a number of legal violations that often result in jail time or fines.
The Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in McHenry is asking for your help to provide some much needed supplies for our “camping neighbors” during PADS off-season. We plan to be at the PADS office every Monday during the next five months to hand out supplies to the campers. If 50 families donate one can of bug spray per month, we can help make things a bit more tolerable for the homeless.
There at is a drop box at the church at 5603 Bull Valley. Call the church office at 815 322-2464 for hours when the church will be open or contact Lisa Jacobsen at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for pick-up of donations.
Here is list of much needed items:
#1 Mosquito Repellant
Instant Coffee and other powdered drink mixes
Disposable utensils; napkins, plates, paper towels, cups, etc.
Toilet paper/pocket-sized Kleenex packages
Hand sanitizer/anti-bacterial wet wipes
Towels any size—can be used as long as they are clean
Condiment packages — catsup, mustard, mayo, salt/pepper
Non-perishable foodstuffs—the more protein/whole grain the better; canned goods
Small cooking pans that could be used over a campfire
Contact Lisa directly about coordinating fresh food donations!
And ... obviously there are “healthier choices” for a number of the above items.
Let your conscience and wallet be your guide; every donation is greatly appreciated!