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

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Homeless Shelters in Rockford Illinois During the Winter Season – WTVO

December 23, 2008

frank-shelter-story

The recent bitter cold weather is causing many homeless shelters to be filled to capacity. The poor economy was already giving local shelters too much business. But now with this arctic cold weather the last few days, many are scrambling to find enough room for the homeless.

Click here to watch the story.

If you’d like to find out how you can help local homeless shelters by making a donation you can call the American Red Cross at 815-963-8471 or www.rockriver.redcross.org.


Thanksgiving Came One Day Early at the Rock River Chapter – Thanks to Dickerson & Nieman Realtors

November 26, 2008

Dickerson & Nieman Realtors presented the Red Cross – Rock River Chapter with a check this morning for $1,530 to go toward our Emergency Overnight Shelter. What a great way to start Thanksgiving early.

Dickerson & Nieman Check Presentation 11.26.2008


Crafts group of Valkommen Plaza Donates to Red Cross – Rock River Chapter

October 1, 2008

Quilter Group Donates to Red Cross Rock River Chapter

Quilter Group Donates to Red Cross Rock River Chapter Quilter Group Donates to Red Cross Rock River Chapter Quilter Group Donates to Red Cross Rock River Chapter

The eight member crafts group of Valkommen Plaza on quilted and donated blankets to the Nancy J. Smith Emergency Shelter. Adhering to their purpose that every needy infant should have a blanket to keep them warm, group members (Jeanette Crowell, Virginia Amberine, Carolyn Lee, Starlene Petrus, Berta Seeger, Nancy Waggoner, Amy Jackson, Anna Martin, Anna Kennedy and Marilyn Congleton) made this donation in response to a Register Star article on the increase in families at the shelter located at 809 Cedar Street, Rockford, Illinois.

If you’d like to volunteer or donate to the shelter please visit: rockriver.redcross.org


Red Cross Homeless Shelter Clean-Up is this coming Saturday May 31, 2008!

May 27, 2008

Our homeless shelter clean-up is this Saturday May 31, 2008. We are still looking for volunteers to help out. If you’d like to volunteer please visit our website and sign up – just click this link! We start at 9 am and work until we’re done – which is usually around 1 pm.

The shelter is located at:

809 Cedar Street
Rockford, IL 61103