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Oswego Couple Looks Forward to Another Year Helping Area Homeless

Sep 23, 2015 05:59PM ● By Steven Jack

Karen and Steve Allred hold up one of the mattresses that will be used to provide sleeping provisions for the PADS guests they will soon be hosting at their church, Harvest New Beginnings, in Oswego. (Photo by Lisa Sharpe)

Article written and provided by Tom Siebert, assistant director for community relations, PADS of Kendall County

Steve and Karen Allred are greatly looking forward to the next several months, when their church will be providing meals and overnight stays to the homeless.

The Allreds are site coordinators at Harvest New Beginnings in Oswego, one of seven area churches that will again be hosting the homeless from mid-October to mid-April in partnership with Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) of Kendall County.

"We have been blessed and this is a great way to give back," said Steve Allred, who has been volunteering for PADS along with his wife, since the shelter sites began operating in Kendall County in October 2010.

"It's very fulfilling," said Karen. "I always look forward to PADS night at the church."

About 600 volunteers will be needed to operate the seven shelter sites, according to Anne Engelhardt, executive director of Kendall County PADS. Each volunteer is asked to serve 4 1/2 hours one day per month, as part of an overnight shift or by serving on the food team.

Kendall County PADS will be holding a new volunteer training session at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 28, at Yorkville Congregational Church of Christ, 409 Center Parkway, Yorkville.

Several presenters will provide an overview of the local picture of homelessness; describe how the shelter program operates; talk about the roles and responsibilities of various volunteer positions; and cover the topics of safe food handling and safety in general.

"People may come and listen, without making a commitment," Engelhardt said. "All interested men and women, ages 18 and older, are invited to find out what it means to be a volunteer with PADS."

For Karen Allred, it means living out her Christian faith. "We know the Lord loves us so we want to show His love to others."

Adds her husband Steve: "You want to give back––and what a better way to do it! It's at your church. It's a safe place to volunteer."

The Oswego couple have been married for 37 years, have three adult children and four grandchildren, and own their own business. Serving at PADS is a labor of love for them.

"I don't consider it a sacrifice," Karen explains. "It's doing something very important for people. We get so much out of it."

Since 2010, Kendall County PADS has assisted more than 300 men, women, and children, Engelhardt stated. That translates into 5,794 overnight stays and 17,369 meals served to the program's “guests.”

PADS also helps to solve the long-term challenges of homelessness, offering counseling, employment assistance, and referrals to local social services.

From Oct. 18, 2015, through April 16, 2016, Kendall County PADS will provide homeless shelters from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. at these sites on the following days:

Sundays: Cross Lutheran Church, 8609 Route 47, Yorkville.
Mondays: Yorkville Congregational United Church of Christ, 409 Center Parkway, Yorkville.
Tuesdays: Harvest New Beginnings, 5315 Douglas Road, Oswego.
Wednesdays: United Methodist Church of Plano, 219 North Hale Street, Plano.
Thursdays: Trinity United Methodist Church, 2505 Boomer Lane, Yorkville.
Fridays: Church of the Good Shepherd, 5 West Washington Street, Oswego.
Saturdays: St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 53 Fernwood Road, Montgomery.

Overnight guests at PADS receive a hot meal, a safe place to sleep, breakfast, and a packaged lunch to go.

Volunteers may register in person at the training session or online at www.kendallcountypads.org. For further information, call 331-207-8903.