Red Cross Shelter Work Shows ‘real need’ [from rrstar.com]

January 5, 2009

By Chris Green, Rockford Register Star

During the past four months, Dave Dinges has become quite familiar with the daily operations of the Cedar Street Red Cross Homeless Shelter and the vital role it plays in the community.

The Stenstrom General Contracting employee served as project manager of the agency’s recently completed $330,000 expansion and renovation project. However, Dinges said it was during the construction process when the project took on a special meaning for him. A woman looking to house a mother and her children mistook him as an employee of the shelter and made a request:

“This woman was looking for a place for them to stay,” he said. “That’s when I had my eyes opened to what the real need was here in Rockford – providing shelter to those who have no place to go.”

Dinges oversaw the completion of a 1,550-square-foot addition, which included a new heating and air-conditioning system, a larger dining and activity room, an area to prepare food, and plenty of storage space for donated clothing and supplies. More importantly, the former dining room was remodeled and has been designated to serve entire families, something Red Cross officials say they are encountering more of on a daily basis.

The shelter office also was expanded and equipped with new computers, filing cabinets and a one-on-one case management room.

Going the extra mile
However, Pat Ambrose, the shelter’s service coordinator, said she was most appreciative of the extra work provided by Dinges and his 16-year-old son, Eric.

When Dinges wasn’t on-site, he was in the community gathering thousands of dollars in donations, such as benches from Spider Manufacturing. The metal seats were installed in a newly created and heated waiting room.

He also gathered office furniture from Michaelsen Office Furniture in Machesney Park.

His son spent part of his Christmas break also in the community gathering donations from area businesses collecting 20 Rubbermaid large plastic tubs, most of which were filled with new bed linen, new socks and hats.

“They had this large storage space, and it was empty,” Eric said. “I just decided to go around and see if I could get someone to help fill it.”

‘A lot more room’
Richard Wooten, 42, and his fiancee, Kira Rhodes, and their 11-month-old daughter, Ameliana, have lived at the 48-bed shelter off and on for several months.

They said the expansion couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It’s not congested in here now,” Wooten said.

Rhodes added: “There’s a lot more room and privacy now. The problem I had before was getting (Ameliana) to go to sleep at night with all the noise. That’s been eliminated.”

Since its opening in 1995, the shelter has housed more than 6,600 individuals, and more than 1,500 people have found permanent housing with assistance from the Rock River Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Staff writer Chris Green can be reached at cgreen@rrstar.com or 815-987-1241.

SCOTT MORGAN | RRSTAR.COM Kira Rhodes and Richard Wooten stand with their 11-month-old daughter, Ameliana Rhodes-Wooten, in a family area where Rhodes and her daughter have been staying Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Rockford. The shelter recently completed a $330,000 addition, which includes a larger dining area. The old dining area has been divided into three family rooms. The shelter policy is for men to sleep in the mens area, even if they are in the shelter with their family.

SCOTT MORGAN | RRSTAR.COM Kira Rhodes and Richard Wooten stand with their 11-month-old daughter, Ameliana Rhodes-Wooten, in a family area where Rhodes and her daughter have been staying Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Rockford. The shelter recently completed a $330,000 addition, which includes a larger dining area. The old dining area has been divided into three family rooms. The shelter policy is for men to sleep in the men's area, even if they are in the shelter with their family.

SCOTT MORGAN | RRSTAR.COM Eric Dinges (right), 16, and his father, Dave Dinges, stand in a new storage room Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Rockford. The shelter recently completed a $330,000 addition, which includes a larger dining area. The old dining area has been divided into three family rooms. Eric volunteered to solicit donations to the Red Cross by asking local businesses to contribute.

SCOTT MORGAN | RRSTAR.COM Eric Dinges (right), 16, and his father, Dave Dinges, stand in a new storage room Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Rockford. The shelter recently completed a $330,000 addition, which includes a larger dining area. The old dining area has been divided into three family rooms. Eric volunteered to solicit donations to the Red Cross by asking local businesses to contribute.

SCOTT MORGAN | RRSTAR.COM A new dining area Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Rockford. The shelter recently completed a $330,000 addition, which includes the larger dining area. The old dining area has been divided into three family rooms.

SCOTT MORGAN | RRSTAR.COM A new dining area Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Rockford. The shelter recently completed a $330,000 addition, which includes the larger dining area. The old dining area has been divided into three family rooms.

Click here to see the article on rrstar.com

Advertisements

Anderson Packaging Doubles Holiday Fundraising Goal – American Red Cross Rock River Chapter Emergency Overnight Shelter received $11,000!

December 23, 2008

Rock River Chapter is one of four agencies to receive funds garnered through employee fundraiser – the American Red Cross Rock River Chapter Emergency Overnight Shelter received $11,000!

The Rock River Chapter of the American Red Cross is pleased to announce a generous holiday gift from Anderson Packaging. This donation comes as a result of Anderson’s second annual Project E.L.L.F. charitable giving campaign.

The program, “Project E.L.L.F.: Enriching the Lives of the Less Fortunate”, was designed as a grassroots holiday themed voluntary charity donation effort for company workers. Over a three-week period, from December 1st to December 17th, workers submitted donations to nominate teams in a cross-functional competition. Teams raising the most money will greet workers at the plant entrances today in holiday themed costumes at each of the company’s three shifts and multiple facilities. “Going into this year’s campaign we established a goal of $10,000 for employee contributions,” states Tracy Barr, Director of Customer Project Planning at Anderson Packaging. “Despite the very challenging economy, we were astonished to find that we were able to raise $22,000 in employee contributions. It’s truly a testament to our employee’s generosity and sense of community.” With a 100% match from the company, the final tally is $44,000.

David Pattengale, director of the Red Cross Emergency Shelter says, “This donation to our overnight shelter means that our neighbors who may have fallen on hard times will have a place to sleep tonight. It’s important that we keep these people in mind during the holiday season, and the employees of Anderson Packaging have truly stepped up to show they care.”

The Shelter Mission

To meet the temporary shelter needs of a diverse group of individuals who for whatever cause are homeless in the community. We strive to create a safe environment that is free of discrimination and respects human dignity. This will be accomplished by providing positive role models, community education, and support systems which empower and develop guests, volunteers and staff, with a focus on long-term solutions.

About Anderson Packaging

Anderson Packaging, a wholly owned subsidiary of the AmerisourceBergen Corporation, is one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical contract packagers in the United States.

With extensive experience in new-product launches and process startup, Anderson offers specialized services such as package development, including design of child-resistant and patient compliance prompting features, as well as process development, including in-house tooling design and manufacture. Anderson also maintains one of the most progressive process, facilities and validation programs in the contract packaging industry, while maintaining a record of superior quality and service.


Red Cross Invites America to Join “National Day of Giving” December 13

December 12, 2008

The Red Cross is designating December 13 the “National Day of Giving for the American Red Cross” as part of its efforts to reach the $100 million fundraising goal for its Campaign for Disaster Relief, which the organization launched in September.

“We’ve made some incredible progress toward our goal in a short period of time,” said Jeffrey Towers, chief development officer of the Red Cross, “and we’re confident that the National Day of Giving for the American Red Cross will bring us that much closer.”

Red Cross volunteers and employees will reach out on December 13 to their friends and neighbors to help raise money for the Campaign for Disaster Relief, which aims to replenish the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The fund was depleted as a result of a very busy year of disasters, including a record number of tornadoes, severe flooding in the central United States and an active hurricane season. From January through October 2008, the Red Cross had already responded to more than 70 large-scale disasters.

The Red Cross relies on the Disaster Relief Fund to provide food, shelter and counseling for disaster victims in the United States. Red Cross volunteers respond not only during large events like hurricanes or earthquakes, but also in thousands of “silent” disasters-most commonly house fires-that happen in communities every day, all across the country.

There are several ways the public can help the Red Cross meet its $100 million goal, which will go toward helping the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year:

  • Look for Red Cross volunteers in your community on December 13. They will be available to take donations on the spot. Share what you can with your neighbors.
  • Donate to the Red Cross by going to www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (for Spanish-speakers, 1-800-257-7575).
  • Send contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund to your local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
  • Use your cell phone to donate $5 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by text messaging the keyword “GIVE” (4483) to “2HELP” (24357).
  • Shop the Red Cross online store at www.redcrossstore.org.

St. Bridget’s School in Rockford, Illinois Donates to the Red Cross Emergency Overnight Shelter Donation

December 12, 2008

We’d like to thank St. Bridget’s for their generous donation to our Emergency Overnight Shelter!

St. Bridget's School Emergency Overnight Shelter Donation 12.11.2008

St. Bridget's School Emergency Overnight Shelter Donation 12.11.2008


Cyber Monday Deal: Michigan Fan Auction – Just One Day Left

December 1, 2008

Originally, reported on redcrosschat.org, there is just one day left to bid on an auction a Michigan fan who is trying to find a new team for his allegiance.

So, he’s auctioning off his allegiance to the highest bidder and helping the Red Cross and donating 80% of the profits to the Disaster Relief Fund.

Interview with Disgruntled Michigan Fan

1. Why did you decide to auction off your Michigan allegiance?

I have been an avid University of Michigan fan for my entire life. In 2001, my employer moved my to Northeast Ohio. Since then, Michigan has been pitiful, and the Buckeye fans are really good at constantly reminding me of it. In fact, I would say that Buckeye fans in Northeast Ohio are a quite aggressive bunch! After I put some thought into it, I figured this auction would be a fun way of raising some funds for the American Red Cross – as well as helping me stay sane in the heart of Buckeye country.

2. Which school do you hope wins your affections?

I just hope it isn’t Ohio State.

3. Why did you decide to donate the proceeds from this auction to the Disaster Relief Fund?

I work with our local Red Cross representative, helping to organize the blood drives at my place of employment. I greatly respect the Red Cross and their focus on saving lives. I don’t think people realize the impact the American Red Cross when it comes to helping those in need. The Red Cross was a perfect fit, and I was fortunate that they have partnered with eBay. It was an easy choice.

If you win the auction you get:

So, if you’re looking for something to buy on Cyber Monday you can help the Red Cross and a frustrated Michigan fan choose a new team to cheer on – bid now!


GKN Donates $1,000 to American Red Cross Emergency Overnight Shelter

November 13, 2008

In the picture above is Pat Ambrose, Emergency Overnight Shelter Coordinator and GKN representatives. We’d like to thank GKN for their generous donation!


Need a Red Cross speaker at your event or luncheon?

October 9, 2008
Volunteer Tony Gasparini speaks at a donor appreciation event.

Volunteer Tony Gasparini speaks at a donor appreciation event.

Are you having an event coming up and need a speaker in the Rock River Region? Would you like to learn more about the Red Cross and how we help the community? All you need to do is to contact us and we’ll be there to speak about the Red Cross and answer any questions you may have. It’s just that simple!

Visit our website to get a speaker for your event now:
rockriver.redcross.org/index.php?pr=Need_a_Speaker?