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NewsTribune photo/Chris Yucus Christine Toomey of Pennsylvania (left) said she was thankful to be able to stay temporarily at the Illinois Valley PADS shelter as temperatures dipped below zero this week. Toomey, waiting to be rejoined with her “other half” after he finished truck-driving orientation in the area, said the Peru shelter was one of the nicer shelters she has stayed at. “There’s help out there if you’re willing to accept it. Just ask,” said Toomey, 30, who was working with volunteer Julie Reints of Mendota on a 1,000-piece puzzle to pass the time Monday afternoon. Reints, who has volunteered for eight years at Public Action to Deliver Shelter’s Peru location, said she likes giving her time to the shelter because it’s relaxing and a nice way to meet new people.
Public Action to Deliver Shelter was “nearly full” Monday night, and volunteers at the homeless shelter are relieved indeed that the wind-chill advisory lapses at noon.
But now another worry is looming: How much of PADS’ winter budget was depleted by the pair of snow-freezes that made January so dangerous for the homeless.
Executive director Carol Alcorn reported the Peru and Ottawa shelters were three-quarters full over the weekend and were fully prepared for the cold snap and resulting crush of needy clients. Volunteers emerged with meals and helping hands, and she was “pretty well-covered.”
Now for the guessing game: How much power, water and heat did PADS use during the all-day service hours established during the cold?
“It’s hard to know until I get the bills,” Alcorn said. “I anticipate the utility and water bills will be higher because the usage is higher.”
Donors who weren’t able to assist during the cold days might be needed down the road when Alcorn receives her invoices.
Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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