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Illinois Valley PADS to open doors for season

Illinois Valley Public Action to Deliver Shelters (PADS) will open its doors for service to the homeless and those in crisis at 5 p.m. Sunday at shelters in Peru at 1320 Menards Drive and in Ottawa at 1120 Canal St.

PADS’ service area covers Bureau, Putnam and LaSalle counties for anyone 18 years of age and older along with their families who are homeless.

Between the two shelters, PADS has 54 beds, 30 in Ottawa and 24 in Peru, designed to provide a warm and safe place to sleep, eat meals, get a shower or do laundry and provide case management to assist in finding answers to the issues that cause homelessness, said Carol Alcorn, executive director of Illinois Valley PADS, which first opened in 1991.

The shelters assisted 280 individuals from September 2012 to May 2013.

There were 24 family units, which included 38 children.

“We provided with the help of local churches, individuals and hospitals, 17,101 meals while clients used our beds 6,916 times,” added Alcorn. “The use of the shelters by veterans was up slightly to 23 individuals.”

Through case management, assistance is found for eye and medical care, transportation and enrollment in available programs, she said. The shelter has developed and taught educational classes in budgeting, employment and computer skills.

“There has been an increased activity and success in finding employment and understanding the value of that income in being able to sustain themselves in their own housing,” added Alcorn.

“The organization is looking forward to making a support group program available within the shelter services this year as well as building additional space in the Ottawa shelter to house families, while allowing them to remain together as a unit instead of separation by gender. This addition will add 16 to 24 more beds to our program.”

Lily Pads Resale Boutique at 4471 Progress Boulevard in Peru supports the programs by contributing funding.

“This year we were able to add much needed space to our receiving areas with the support of a donor,” added Alcorn. “The store supports the community by not only working with our organization to provide clothing to those in need, but also provides to those working with other agencies. You can follow us on Facebook for more information about the store.

“As we open for service, we anticipate that we will see many more individuals and families in crisis,” said Alcorn. “’We will continue to be more than just a bed in our efforts to assist them. We need the partnership of community members in volunteering in either shelter or the store. Volunteering is a valuable service to your community. Training is provided for all our facilities.”

The shelter program needs nighttime volunteers, while the store is only daytime hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Several churches located within Bureau County sent volunteer teams to the shelters from Sept. 1, 2012, to May 31. Those listed on the shelter support summary portion of the organization’s 2013 report were Bunker Hill Church of God in Buda, Dover Congregational, First Lutheran Church in Princeton, First United Methodist Church in Princeton and St. Louis Catholic Church in Princeton.

Interested persons can contact the organization by going to its website at to apply or send financial contributions through the website or mail them to P.O. Box 1012, LaSalle, IL 613201.

More information can also be obtained by calling 815-224-3047 (LaSalle) or 815-433-1292 (Ottawa).

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Want to help?

Peru and Ottawa shelters need the following items:
Paper plates, bowls and cups
Plastic utensils
Coffee, sugar, creamer
Dry cereals
Trash bags (30 and 13 gallon)
Vinegar to clean floors
HE and regular laundry soap
Ziploc bags (gallon, quart, sandwich)
Cleaning products (glass cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, dish soap)
Paper (copy, card stock)
Snack items for carry out lunches
Adult underwear, socks, slippers

Lily Pads Resale Boutique accepts the following items:
Aluminum cans
Bedding, curtains, linens
Bicycles (good condition)
Books, music, movies
Countertop appliances
Decorative items
Computers, CPUs, printers, keyboards, laptops (even if they don't work). They do not accept monitors.
Furniture (clean and in good condition from smoke-free home)
Metal (for recycling)
Pots and pans
Small tools
Sporting goods
Telephones, answering machines, pagers

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