Herald Angels begins 15th year serving needy
By Rose Panieri email@example.com November 16, 2012 11:16PM
Updated: December 19, 2012 12:33PM
One need not watch the news to know the economy still is in the pits. Many former middle-class families are jobless and without health insurance. An increasing number of families are homeless. Not only will they not be exchanging gifts this holiday season, many will not have enough to eat.
Now in its 15th year, the Herald Angels has made the holidays joyful for those who otherwise would suffer. Together, we have assisted seniors in keeping their homes warm and parents in buying warm coats and a Christmas gift or two for their children.
Every penny you donate directly benefits your neighbors through Senior Services of Will County, Catholic Charities Daybreak Center and Joliet Area Community Hospice.
Even a modest donation — $5 or $10 — provides a holiday meal or a small gift. If you can’t donate funds, volunteering goes far in bringing joy to your neighbors.
Serving the vulnerable
Seniors have been among the hardest hit by the economy. Senior Services of Will County provides programs and services for them.
“With the elimination of the Illinois Cares Rx Program, seniors who were paying $2 for the prescriptions suddenly found themselves paying $85 or more for the same medication,” said Mary Pat Frye, director of care coordination at the center. “Some seniors have had to choose between making their mortgage or car payment.”
Through the agency, seniors can count on lifesaving services such as assistance with rent and heating, home-delivered meals and health care advocacy. Or a modest “luxury” can ward off depression.
“We’ve sometimes used funds from the Herald Angels to buy a senior something special that they wouldn’t otherwise get,” Frye said. “The funds come in once a year, but they enable us to provide to seniors throughout the year.”
For those who can’t donate, Senior Services needs volunteers to deliver meals, advocate, prepare taxes and do clerical tasks.
Information: Visit www.willcountyseniors.org or call 815-723-9713.
Shelter for the homeless
Winter can be hell on Earth for homeless families. Catholic Charities Daybreak Center operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing emergency shelter and support services such as job advocacy to get the dispossessed back on their feet.
Center director Yvonne MacDonald-Hames said there’s a growing need for help in Will County.
“We’ve increased our capacity from 100 to 120 beds and every single one is filled,” she said. “We’re seeing a most unfortunate trend. A surprising number of people who would donate or volunteer at the center are now clients. A man who was a union laborer and worked with our clients found himself in need of shelter. What’s happening in our county is very frightening.”
The center desperately needs volunteers to provide child care while shelter residents work, food servers, clothing sorters and kind-hearted folks who can offer a shoulder to cry on. The shelter accepts donations of nonperishable food, new or clean clothing — especially coats — and toiletries.
Information: Call 815-774-4663 or visit www.cc-doj.org/daybreak.htm.
Dying with dignity
Joliet Area Community Hospice (JACH) has been offering compassionate, professional care to terminally ill patients and their families since 1982. It has served more than 17,000 patients.
One of the most valuable programs is JACH’s pediatric team, which has gotten referrals from area hospitals and specialty hospitals such as Children’s Memorial Hospital, Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital and other sources.
JACH has served thousands of veterans since 1982 and now offers its Pride, Honor & Dignity Veterans Program. It focuses on respectfully celebrating veterans and providing care that recognizes the unique challenges that may exist in military families.
Volunteers are crucial to the hospice team. JACH also welcomes and trains veterans for its Veteran to Veteran volunteer program. Visit www.joliethospice.org or call 815-740-4104.
For donations, make checks payable to Herald Angels and mail to The Herald-News, 2175 Oneida St., Joliet, IL 60435. For information about Herald Angels, contact Rose Panieri at 815-773-7178.