STERLING – The director of Twin Cities PADS Homeless Shelter is asking the community to help brighten the holidays for its residents.
Executive director Myles Newberry is looking for $5 donations in the annual $5 Christmas Wish drive.
Typically, the money raised allows residents to enjoy a one-night stay at the Rock Falls Hotel on Christmas Eve. This year, Newberry wants to extend that to 2 nights, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
That way, volunteers, too, can spend Christmas with their families, he said.
The mild weather, combined with the shelter’s focus on moving people on to better places, means PADS has fewer residents than last winter. This year, donations are being sought for 6 to 12 residents; last year, it was 10 to 20.
Newberry said he is working with local agencies to help get residents out of the shelter and into apartments quickly.
“I know that there’s openings in apartments right now with other agencies, which in the past may not have been the case,” he said.
For example, a mother and a daughter who had been at the shelter since Oct. 2, the second night the shelter was open, recently were relocated to an apartment.
The shelter also needs gift cards to grocery stores, or donations of powdered juice mixes, decaffeinated coffee, cereal, instant oatmeal, hats, gloves, socks and underwear, Newberry said.
The shelter is also in “desperate” need of volunteers, said Newberry, who is trying to figure out how to get more people involved.
“I wish we had 30 to 40 more who could give 4 hours a month, and it would be great,” he said.
“It’s rewarding. We should be helping each other.”
To volunteer or donate
Twin Cities PADS homeless shelter is at 111 E. 29th St. in Sterling, just south of Wahl Clipper.
Volunteers are needed for all three shifts: from 7 to 11 p.m.; 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., and 3 to 7 a.m., when it closes for the day. Individuals, or groups and organizations, are welcome.
To donate or volunteer, call 815-626-2210.
Christmas donations are needed by Dec. 21. Checks can be sent to Twin Cities PADS, 111 E. 29th St., Sterling, IL 61081 with Christmas Fund in the memo line.
Donations also can be dropped off from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at the shelter office, or from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly with the shelter volunteers.
Executive director Myles Newberry asks that donors please call ahead before dropping off donations.
The shelter also has a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TwinCitiesPads.