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


The Cosmo Queens Feed the Homeless at Our Emergency Overnight Shelter

December 23, 2008

On December 15, 2008 the Cosmo Queens threw a Holiday Party for our homeless residents at our Emergency Overnight Shelter. Go to cosmoqueens.com to find out more about their organization.

Thanks Cosmo Queens for all that you do! They’re wonderful volunteers at our shelter!!

cosmoelves

Cosmo Queens: “Feeding the homeless in December was extra special for a family the Queens adopted this Christmas. Christmas 2008 will be one they remember with a BIG smile! The Queens also served up some entertainment along with the food for the homeless. Hopefully some joy and laughter was brought into the lives of all the special people that were there. Thank you Pat for all you do!
santa-baby1
Santa even made a stop by for the kids!


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.


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


Red Cross Responds to House Fire Chesterfield Ave, Rockford, Illinois

November 24, 2008

The above is a view from the ERV of the fire department respond along with Red Cross to a single family house fire on Chesterfield Ave in Rockford, Illinois. The Red Cross provided the family of 9 with assistance. Single family house fires is the most common disaster we respond.

On average we respond to 8-10 fires per month. If you’d like to get involved at the Red Cross please go to our chapter website or you can find your local chapter at redcross.org.


American Red Cross Volunteer Rememberance – Jeffrey P. Stott 9/19/1960 – 11/15/2008

November 20, 2008

We lost a wonderful volunteer on November 15, 2008. Jeffrey Stott a long time Emergency Overnight Shelter volunteer “Uncle Jeff” will be missed by all at the shelter and our heart felt condolences go out to his friends and family.

See his obituary below. Click here to sign a guest book in his honor.

Jeffrey Paul “Uncle Jeff” Stott, 48, of Monroe Center, Ill., died Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008, as the result of a motorcycle accident.

He was born Sept. 19, 1960, in Sycamore, the son of Paul and Patricia (Morris) Stott. Jeff was working at Ingersoll in Rockford and had worked at Woodward Governor for 27 years, from his apprenticeship to becoming a plant manager in Buffalo, N.Y.

He was a very active member of the Kirkland United Methodist Church, most recently serving as the chairman for the board of trustees. Jeff enjoyed riding his motorcycle and spending time with his family. Jeff volunteered time at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter in Rockford, where he helped serve meals to the homeless. Jeff was also a member of H.O.G., a lifetime member of the AMA, and T.T.M., and an Eagle Scout with Kirkland Troop 26.

He is survived by his son, Chadwick F. Stott of Monroe Center; father, Paul Stott; brother, Mike (Kathleen) Stott; ex-wife, Karibeth (Bunger) Stott; and a close-knit family of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

He was preceded in death by his mother; special friends, Bill Taylor and Brad Taylor; and father-in-law, Ron Bunger.


Isaiah Project Donates Quilts for Red Cross Emergency Overnight Shelter

November 11, 2008

The Isaiah Project donated approximately 70 quilts for residents at our Emergency Overnight Shelter a 48 bed facility. Below is a picture of them accepting a certificate.

If you’d like to volunteer at our Emergency Overnight Shelter you can go to our website at rockriver.redcross.org