November is National Gratitude Month, a time to celebrate and give thanks. Here at Interfaith Community PADS we’re so grateful for our loving community that has supported us since we started back in 2002. With your help, we have gone from a small organization of churches helping homeless men to a nonprofit organization with a permanent location that serves men, women and children in Michigan City and LaPorte County.
We couldn’t have come this far without your support! So today, in this blog post, we want to take some time to express gratitude to the various people who have helped our mission grow. As we discuss each group, we’ll be sharing some specific examples from our Facebook page. These are examples only, and do not reflect everyone who has helped us in each of these areas.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
ICPADs runs with the help of volunteers (which we’ll cover next!) and a small group of employees. This includes Harrison Holtcamp, our executive director, who is working tirelessly both behind the scenes and as the ‘face’ of the shelter to our community and guests. We thank all our employees for helping us carry out the demanding daily work of running an emergency shelter. Check out this Facebook post where we give a shout out to one of our employees, Sue!
ICPADs could not do the work it does without the help of MANY volunteers, some of which volunteer their time for one specific day or event, and others who volunteer regularly. We spotlighted some of our volunteers in an earlier blog post on National Volunteer Month. On our Facebook page, we recognized Colleen Rainwater and Jan Thornburg for organizing our dry goods pantry in January, and we celebrated the 25th wedding anniversary of volunteers Ernie and Sharon Lane in July.
We are also grateful for the guests we get to serve on a nightly basis over at our shelter. In a May blog post, we encouraged you to fight back against the stigmas against homelessness because once you meet our guests you’ll understand how wonderful they are. In July, we were so happy to congratulate former guest Erik, who worked hard and was able to save to move into his own apartment. We also appreciate former guests like Dale who, after getting their own permanent housing, come back to the shelter to volunteer!
Thank you also to the local businesses that have supported our mission this year and in the past. One really fun way that businesses got involved this year was by offering giveback events. In 2022, Hacienda and Swingbellies allowed us to hold giveback events at their restaurants, where a portion of the diner’s check went to the ICPADS shelter. You can read about one of these events here, and if you’re interested in seeing how your business can support ICPADS, check out our Corporate Sponsorship page.
If you know about our history, you know that ICPADs was originally organized by local churches, and the shelter location rotated, being held at different churches throughout each week. Now that we have our own permanent residence, we are grateful that local churches are still heavily involved in our work.
Some churches offer financial donations, like Liberty Bible Church which donated $7,500 to our Phase Two project this fall, and Living Way Church which donated $3,500 to kick off our Healthcare Foundation of LaPorte Challenge grant back in June. Other churches volunteer their time, such as the Presbyterian Church of LaPorte which hosted a full day of service at our shelter in May. Another way churches support our work is by giving donations. We sure were excited to start the New Year off with this huge pantry donation from Christ Church in January!
We are also grateful to local organizations that contribute to our mission throughout the year via monetary or goods donations and volunteering. Back in January, Leadership LaPorte County chose to do a service project at our shelter. Meanwhile, we have had several local organizations help us with meals, including our friends at Opportunity Enterprises who came down to help in our kitchen in March, and Healthcare Foundation of LaPorte which donated excess salads from a function they hosted back in May.
Although this can also fall under the category of Local Churches or Local Organizations, we wanted to give a special shout out to the young people in our area who have helped us throughout 2022. The year started out with Eagle Scout Troop 876 helping us build two benches in January. In February, a youth group from First Church (Hebron & Wheatfield) came by and made a delicious lasagna dinner for our guests. And in August, our guests feasted on a yummy meal of chicken, potatoes, coleslaw and Gatorade made by the New Buffalo Youth Sports Inc.
Our Entire Community
The people and organizations on this list represent a sample of MANY who support our work to help the homeless. In some cases, those who help us remain rather anonymous. For example, ICPADs was in the top three fundraisers in the LaPorte County GIVES event in October. For those of you who we did not mention specifically in this article, we see you and we are so grateful for your support!Once again, we want to express our gratitude for everyone who has helped our work throughout 2022. Employees, volunteers, guests, businesses, churches, organization, youth – it takes an entire community to adequately address the needs of homeless men, women and children in our area. If you’re interested in getting involved too, we’d love to speak with you! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reach Harrison Holtkamp, our executive director.