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Who are we?

We are a village of volunteers who are concerned for our homeless neighbors. Our village has grown from a handful of fast-acting residents to include dozens of wonderful individuals, many churches, food pantries, various social groups and several generous restaurants.

 

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Since the beginning of the stay at home order due to the pandemic all local homeless shelters and warming centers closed. Most of the people who used the PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) locations prior to the pandemic have been housed in either apartments or hotels in the area. However, a few neighbors in this population have not fit the regulations set by PADS for one reason or another. They have been using various spots in the Downers Gove downtown area for their "housing." With the shelters closed, they also lost their reliable meal sources.  

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At the start of the pandemic a few of us went out to serve meals to our homeless neighbors. Quickly, these generous people found each other. They organized and began feeding our guests breakfast and dinner every day. Our group grew, and more meals were served. A few more joined us through Nextdoor. Some of these new neighbors reached out to local restaurants, churches, food pantries and social groups who have helped with donations and service. PADS continues to support our guests using their remote services 

Our guests found their way into our hearts. They each are warm, funny, humble, friendly and thankful. Through the pandemic we have learned their stories. We have been fortunate to share our guests' celebrations and blessed to help carry some of their burdens. We are delighted to help them become more stable in their personal growth, well-being and independence; and most importantly, serving them a good meal.

Our relationship with our guests is so important, but the relationship with our volunteers is equally important. Many churches and social groups have joined our team. Currently, First Congregational United Church of Christ has opened its doors of its newly acquired space, just west of their building for our efforts. They have named their space The Community Kitchen. In this space, together we hope to continue to serve our homeless guests and other neighbors experiencing food insecurity.

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