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


REMINDER: The American Red Cross is Helping You Record Video Messages to the Troops – Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December 12, 2008

Record a two-minute streaming video, which will then be e-mailed to their loved ones serving in the Armed Forces.

  • Where: Chicago Rockford International Airport’s (RFD) Main Terminal
  • When: Tuesday, December 16th from 6am to 7pm
  • Who: Friends and family members
  • What do you need: the soldier’s email address

Many thanks to the organizations below for helping
us spread the word!

rfd-airport-logo-cmyk wtvo-logo2

wxrx-multi-color wnta-multi-color


Bloodmobile Schedule for December 2008

November 24, 2008

WALK-INS ARE WELCOME!!

For appointments call: 1-800-448-3543

Mon. December 8th, 11:00am- 4:00pm
Bay Valley Foods
820 Palmyra Ave.
Dixon, IL 61021
Self-contained unit used.

Tues. December 9th, 12:30pm-6:30pm
Knights of Columbus Hall
506 West Third
Dixon, IL 61021
Sponsored by: K of C

Tues. December 16th, 10:30am- 5:30pm
KSB Hospital
403 E. First Street
Dixon, IL 61021

Wed. December 17th, 12:00pm-5:00pm
St. Paul Lutheran Church
Dixon “O” Drive
421 S. Peoria
Dixon, IL 61021
Self-contained unit used.

Wed. December 17th, 10:00am-4:00pm
Illinois Dept. of Transportation
819 Depot
Dixon, IL 61021


Why Donate? Don’t Donate.

November 21, 2008

Or if you want to please visit rockriver.redcross.org or 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.


News about the California Wildfires and Red Cross – Link/Video

November 17, 2008

A newsroom has been opened for information on the Red Cross and response to the current wildfires in California at http://newsroom.redcross.org.

Click the link below to see a video on the wildfires.


Click here to view a story on the Wildfires and Red Cross

To volunteer at the Rock River Chapter go to rockriver.redcross.org or to find your local chapter click here.


Red Cross “Holiday Mail for Heroes” – Video

November 13, 2008

For more information go to www.redcross.org/holidaymail or if you’d like to vounteer at the Rock RIver Chapter go to www.rockriver.redcross.org