I Support Community Blog
A divorce, loss of job, car repair or medical bill can create a financial crisis that may lead to eviction or utility shut off. Even though the median household income in Naperville is around $100,000, there are members of our community that are struggling. Naperville CARES was formed in 1999 to help local families in financial crisis meet their essential needs by providing emergency financial support and resources.
There are two primary types of services that Naperville CARES provides. The first is financial assistance requests including those for rent deposits, utility payments, rent payments, child care and emergency car repairs. Last year alone, Naperville CARES was able to assist 523 households containing 1,515 residents, fulfilling 584 service requests. Of those households, 72% were headed by women and 46% of the people served were children under 18 years old.
The second service that CARES has for clients is a Car Program which repairs vehicles that have been donated by members of the community and then gives them to families who lack reliable transportation to get to work. They also repair vehicles owned by individuals who need their cars to get to work. Last year, CARES provided 27 cars to households without a vehicle and repaired 18 client-owned vehicles.
Last year, in order to assist those families in need that qualified for services, CARES distributed $295,000 in client financial assistance. $174,000 of that money came directly from CARES funds. The additional $121,000 was made possible by collaborating with area congregations as well as government and social service agencies. CARES revenue comes from a variety of sources including congregations, government, event sponsors, civic groups, vehicles sales and foundations. But almost half of our revenue comes directly from individual donors.
To be eligible for CARES services, the individuals or families must be Naperville residents or members of a Naperville congregation or nonresidents who have been referred to CARES by a Naperville congregation or receive services from a DuPage County social service agency.
CARES only has one full-time and two part-time employees therefore most of the client services are performed by the almost sixty CARES volunteers who last year provided our clients with over 9,000 service hours. Volunteers are critical to CARES!
For further information on Naperville CARES programs and service, or to donate or volunteer your time, please see our profile on I Support Community’s website.Add a comment Add a comment
Over a hundred supporters, sponsors and guests came together to raise funds for I Support Community at our 2nd Annual Giving Hope Through Stories event at CityGate Grille. It was a fun and inspiring night that offered many ways for people to donate.
Guests who purchased a “Blinky Hope Star” participated in the Heads/Tails game (where you choose your head or tail, and the last person standing is the winner). Apparently, the coin being used was possessed as it would only land on heads. After heads was tossed many times in a row, a new coin was brought out. By this point, there were five guests still in the game, all with their hands on their heads - it looked as if they would either all lose or the game would keep on going. Finally, Nicole Comis decided to risk losing and chose tails. She won on the very next flip of the coin!Add a comment Add a comment
Yesterday wrapped up I Support Community’s Coffee Campaign Crew week! Over the past 5 days we hosted three events highlighting organizations in this community by bringing people together to learn and volunteer.
First up was our Kids Crew Event. Fourteen kids and their families came together to make birthday bags for Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry. The Kids loved decorating the bags and learning about the Pantry. After the decorating was finished, we all went over to the Pantry to deliver the decorated bags and take a tour. By far, the kids seemed to have the most fun standing on the big scale. The fourteen kids weighed over 700 pounds! We have heard from many families how much fun their kids had and that they cannot wait until the next Kids Crew event scheduled for Saturday March 8th. Add a comment Add a comment
As a young adult in Chicago it is sometimes difficult to find organizations to volunteer for without being involved in some type of service group. One might find themselves stuck doing odd tasks here and there as a “volunteer” instead of working for charities that rely on the assistance of volunteers. Generally speaking, the first resource we resort to is Google, where any number of reliable and not so reliable suggestions can appear. Thankfully, there are easier, more credible alternatives.Add a comment Add a comment