Compassion4Campers, the program which supports homeless PADS clients in McHenry County while the church-based rotating shelter sites are shut down for the warmer months, is gearing up for a third year of service.
Since the overnight shelters at the end of April, PADS clients have endured an exceptionally cold and wet spring, many of them now sleeping outside in hidden camps.
Beginning on Monday May 12, Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation members along with a coalition of local partners will be at the PADS office at 14411 Kishwaukee Valley Road every Monday during the next five months to hand out supplies to the homeless campers, cook a lunch on a grill, and provide some much needed listening, camaraderie and normalcy.
Compassion4Campers volunteer coordinator Lisa Jacobsen stresses that, “there is no other weekly program in the county that provides this much-needed care during the off season — along with a hot, home-cooked meal.”
Jacobsen is seeking volunteers to help set-up and breakdown food service, serve food, listen and talk with people on Mondays at the PADS office between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm. Volunteers can also occasionally be used for transportation. Youth volunteers are also welcome. “Woodstock School District 400 students can apply hours with Compassion4Campers to their volunteer requirements for graduation. We will take care of the paper work.”
In addition to individuals, Jacobsen is seeking church groups, families, even business who can volunteer to provide the food for a meal. Dates are available in June and through the rest of the season which ends the last week in September.
The Tree of Life Congregation, 5503 Bull Valley Road in McHenry, is also accepting donations of supplies for the homeless campers including items like bug spray, suntan lotion, bottle water, toilet paper, basic hygiene supplies, non-perishable food, gift cards for gas or meals, all the way up to sleeping bags and tents. A collection box is near the front door by the minister’s office.
For information on volunteering as an individual, providing meals, or a complete list of needed camping supplies, contact Lisa Jacobsen at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sue Rekenthaler at email@example.com . For hours when the church is open to accept supply donations call the office at 815 322-2464. If you have a number of items to donate, e-mail Jacobsen or Rekenthaler to arrange a pick up.