GRANVILLE — Putnam County Rotarians gained eye-opening insight into the plight of the homeless, during a program hosted by Rotarian Scott Shore and presented by PADS outreach assistant Jacqueline Smith at the club’s July 27 meeting.
Last year alone, PADS facilities in Peru and Ottawa provided a total of 11,391 shelter nights, served 28,785 meals, and provided services ranging from health and dental care, to life skills, substance abuse counselling, job and housing placement services to a total of 357 clients – including a record number of 75 homeless children.
Surprisingly, 90 percent of those served are local residents. Many, she said, have jobs but do not earn enough to cover rent and expenses. The request for services has risen dramatically in each of the last two years. PADS shelters are open from September through May, from 5 to 9 p.m. nightly.
The non-profit organization, founded 26 years ago, serves Marshall, Putnam and LaSalle counties. It is primarily funded by donations, and the revenue generated by the sale of donated items through “Lilly Pads,” the second-hand store in Peru operated by PADS volunteers. Only 6 percent of its funding is reliant on state grants. For the future, she said, PADS facilities hope to be able to house homeless families with children together, rather than separating adult males and females. The organization is in need of volunteers, cash donations and goods listed on its website “wish list.” For more information, contact Terry at 815-224-3047.