This past weekend, Hidden Valley Ranch and Gino’s East of Wheaton and Gino’s East of South Barrington partnered to respond to the needs of people who have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan came together when Sarah Dolan, a member of the Housing Forward Board of Directors, connected the Maywood nonprofit agency with offers of help from the makers of Hidden Valley Ranch, and two Gino’s East franchises.
Housing Forward Community Health Nurse Deirdre Kassay interacts regularly with clients—both those staying in temporary accommodations—and our existing clients in supportive housing. In order to comply with new Illinois rules now in effect, and for their protection as well as staff and meal delivery volunteers, she has put out a call for donated cloth face masks.
Etta Martin is serving her second year as a Senior Corps member with Housing Forward. She is enthusiastic in her praise of the organization and remains committed to serving its mission to transition people from housing crisis to housing stability.
Demetrius Lowery and Calvin Jefferson, who we at Housing Forward affectionately call Team DC, have been consistently providing meals to clients who have been moved from a rotating overnight emergency shelter program to individual 24/7 accommodations so they can safely “shelter in place” during the corona outbreak. The number of people being served has grown from 64 to 104 over the past month. This is nearly double the number we would be serving in our regular shelters.
This weekend, April 25-26, the Straughan family of Oak Park is planning to run a fundraising marathon in their back yard and will split all the funds raised between Housing Forward and Beyond Hunger. Anton Straughan was inspired when he watched a YouTube video of a man in Cheltenham, England running a marathon for charity in his back yard that raised over $40K for the UK National Health Service. It took him more than one thousand trips back and forth in his 20 ft. yard to complete the feat.
Every weekday, each of our 78 clients, many of whom were moved from the rotating PADS shelter sites to individual accommodations, receive breakfast and lunch donated by our volunteers, and dinner from local caterers. On weekends, meals are provided by one local restaurant.
Several weeks ago, eight large cardboard boxes arrived at our Maywood office. Inside were more than 300 pairs of denim blue jeans from the North Riverside Mall Aéropostale store.
Today marks two weeks since we moved all clients staying in our 24/7 PADS Shelter at Oak Park Temple to individual accommodations. As you might imagine, it’s been challenging, but with ongoing help from our donors, local restaurants and caterers, and community volunteers, a plan for providing nutritious food is in place.