Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Compassion for Campers—Join in a Weekly Cook-out With the Homeless

Lisa Jacobsen of the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation now in McHenry  is coordinating the Compassion for Campers program to provide needed supplies to homeless PADS clients who must camp out from May through September when church shelters are closed.  She reports on an exciting new opportunity to do even more.

This summer season has seen the numbers of homeless people needing assistance rise, while the services [and staff] at PADS have taken some drastic cuts. I know many of you participated in the late Joe Blanco’s Community Ministry Suppers over the summer season in years past. While our congregation lost our space to host the Suppers over this summer season, our desire to provide a home-cooked meal once a week hasn’t disappeared! Providing a good, balanced meal for folks living on packaged- and fast-food was particularly poignant as we heard over and over again on Monday when we delivered supplies how many of our PADS guests are dealing with diabetes and other food-related illnesses.

Compassion for Campers had its first cook-out at the PADS office, 14411 Kishwaukee Valley Road in rural Woodstock on Monday morning ... it was GREAT! Bob Tirk and Dave Dreyer cooked up a mess of brats and dogs. Sue Renkenthaler, Pam SourelisTony and Marilyn Hlinak, Judy ChinnEric RyanElizabeth Dimond and Bella added to the feast. There were lots of salad and fresh fruit leftovers to bag up and leave for later.

The radio was playing rock and roll, lawn chairs were out, kids were playing on the grass, people were telling jokes and sharing stories, the sun was shining, and the food was smokin’ on the grill! Nobody was homeless ... or hungry ... or scared ... or lonely ... or frightened about the future. We were all just a group of people sharing a picnic together for two hours.
We would like to do this EVERY MONDAY between now and the end of September. Need something meaningful to do with your kids over the summer ... help us provide lunch?! Had a big party over the weekend and overbought on supplies? ... we’ll take ‘em! Nobody has to take on the whole thing, but “it takes a village to feed a village!” Bake a pan of brownies; cut up a watermelon; toss up a pasta salad; plate-up two bags of cookies; buy 3 lbs of potato salad; try out that new rice salad recipe; come flip some burgers.

There are ONLY 13 MEALS between now and the end of the summer season. Lisa Jacobsen, or 815-337-0075 has a schedule for the remaining weeks. There are many ways you can contribute to this ongoing effort: you can bring food, stay to hang out and help serve/set up/clean up, or donate money or supplies for the ongoing program. I realize that Monday at 11:00 am isn't convenient for many people. I’m, personally, more than happy to pick up food/supplies on Sundays or whenever is convenient for your schedule. Just let me know how we can make this easy for you, and something for our PADS guests to look forward to during the “off season.”

--Lisa Jacobsen

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