In the Services of Others - PADS Site at United Protestant Church
The United Protestant Church has been a PADS site since October, 1991, when we first opened our doors as a homeless shelter. During these 21 years, the site has operated as a truly community site with volunteers and support coming from throughout Grayslake and the surrounding area. The congregation of The United Protestant Church, parishioners of St. Gilbert Catholic Church, members of Ivanhoe Congregational Church, Boy Scout Troops 451 and 96, other civic organizations, scout troops, businesses, family groups, and individuals from numerous towns in the area donate their time and resources to enable the UPC site to welcome and assist 40 or more homeless people every Thursday night from the beginning of October through the end of April.
Most of our homeless guests come to the site Thursday evenings at about 6:30 PM on a bus provided by PADS Lake County. A few come on the PACE bus, by bicycle, or on foot. Prior to the guests’ arrival, youth and adult volunteers have prepared the pads and set up the dining area in the church’s Fellowship Hall. Other volunteers are ready to serve a delicious meal to satisfy the guests’ hearty appetites. The guests are welcomed by 1st shift volunteers, registered, and enjoy a bowl of soup and drink as they wait for the evening meal to be served. Their evening can be spent in a variety of ways. They can visit with caring adults most of whom volunteer monthly. They may choose to spend time watching TV or a movie; playing chess, checkers, or card games; or just resting on a pad in the friendly, welcoming atmosphere of the church. Toiletries and clothing are distributed to guests who need these items. Twice a month the guests can be seen in the free clinic provided at the site by the Lake County Health Department. A doctor and nurse check out any health problems the guests have, write prescriptions when needed, and recommend continued care or emergency treatment as necessary. Bible study and/or prayer time are also offered twice each month for guests who wish to participate, and once a month the guests can enjoy visiting with a volunteer and her loving dog, Walter. New guests are informed of the numerous services offered by PADS. By 10:00 PM the site is quiet for the night. After receiving safe overnight shelter, the guests are served breakfast and provided with a lunch to take with them when they leave shortly after 6:00 on Friday morning.
From shortly before the guests arrive at night until after they leave in the morning, adult volunteers are assigned to monitor the sleeping area, hallways, bathrooms, and the kitchen. Other adult volunteers are also assigned specific jobs, such as assigning pads to the guests, helping with the tasks required for clothing distribution, handing out toiletries, and so on.
In addition to the groups of eight or more youth and adults who set up the sleeping and dining areas, at least thirty other volunteers work each night to run our UPC PADS Site efficiently. New volunteers receive an onsite orientation prior to working at the site, and all volunteers sign up for the time and shift which they prefer.
The UPC PADS Site is so grateful to PADS Lake County and to all the volunteers, organizations, and businesses that actively support our site by giving time, sharing talents, and making donations!!! The contributions made by people in our community and the surrounding area make this ministry possible!! Thank you for your support which enables us to be here for the homeless guests who so desperately need the shelter!