At St. Barnabas, we believe in bringing the mercy of Jesus to the world, especially by serving those in need. Twenty-five years ago the churches of DuPage County joined with a new organization, DuPage PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter), to find a way to end homelessness in the area.
Recognizing that everyone needs a place to spend the night and nourishing food, we have offered our church as an overnight PADS facility for several years. In 2014 we were a PADS site for ten Tuesday nights in July, August, and early September. Over 600 clients were welcomed and fed: almost 50% were women and children. On one occasion there were 12 families. We were able to accommodate everyone who came, turning no one away during the 10 weeks.
About 70 men and women from St. Barnabas served our PADS guests: setting up on Sunday, shopping, doing laundry, cooking wonderful meals, cleaning up, and serving during the PADS overnights. Others gave financially to cover the costs and donated underwear, toothbrushes, and other items. All prayed for our ministry. Four other congregations and two outside agencies worked with us. Individual people from outside our congregation also assisted and some of our guests volunteered their services.
PADS is one of the ways that St. Barnabas lives into its mission of "bringing the mercy of Jesus to the world." We plan to serve the PADS homeless again in 2015.