All Saints is one of 18 faith-based emergency shelters for homeless persons supporting Journeys | The Road Home. Every Saturday night from October through April we offer warm, secure shelter and nutritious food to the men, women and occasionally children who come to us in need.
How you can help PADS at All Saints
- Volunteer to take care of our guests for a few hours at our shelter. Four shifts are available on Saturdays from October through April.*
- Help with clean-up on Sunday morning. It’s about an hour of housekeeping to transition the rooms from a shelter to an education space.
- Prepare or purchase food. Either cook a specified entrée, vegetable, side dish or dessert, or buy beverages and the foods we need for lunch and breakfast, such as bread, milk, juice, fruit, bacon and eggs.
- Make a monetary donation that will allow us to purchase needed supplies.
*Volunteers who work face-to-face with our guests have to attend an orientation conducted by Journeys | The Road Home before working their first shift . High School juniors and seniors who have attended the orientation, are welcome to volunteer on the first shift.
What PADS Volunteers Do:
This video describes what PADS volunteers at All Saints do on a typical Saturday night and Sunday morning.
FAQs about being a PADS volunteer
What is PADS?
PADS is the faith-based emergency shelter program that supports Journeys | The Road Home, a not-for-profit social service agency responding to the needs of the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Northwest Cook County. PADS is an acronym derived from Public Action to Deliver Shelter, the name used when the shelter network was organized in the late 1980s. From October through April, PADS provides safe overnight shelter and nutritious food in 18 churches located in Palatine and eight other nearby municipalities.
How does PADS work?
During the PADS season (October through April) each shelter is open one night each week from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next day. Guests are offered a hot meal; a sleeping pad with clean linen; breakfast in the morning; and a “brown bag” lunch. Volunteers, working in shifts, are hosts and hostesses for the guests and clean up after the guests depart.
How can I help?
Our biggest need is for volunteers willing to work face-to-face with our guests. Just to open our doors each week requires a minimum of 18 volunteers. Each season more than 100 volunteers collectively give more than 2,000 hours of their time to care for our guests. We also need volunteers to cook the meals we serve and donate meal items, such as beverages, bread and lunch meat.
Do I have to be a member of All Saints to volunteer?
No. We welcome volunteers from the community who have completed the Journeys volunteer orientation.
If I volunteer to work with guests, what will I be doing?
Volunteers working with guests are fundamentally hosts and hostesses for the guests in our home that night. Tasks vary by shift. In the early shift volunteers get things set up for the night, prepare and serve dinner. After dinner volunteers might play board games or converse with guests. On the overnight shift, when most guests are asleep, volunteers make sandwiches and pack lunches. The early morning shift prepares and serves breakfast. On Sunday morning, starting at 6:30 a.m., the clean-up crew cleans and restores the rooms used for the shelter in preparation for church uses.
This short video above offers an overview of what volunteers do on a typical night in the shelter.
How long do the cooks work?
Typically, volunteer cooks prepare the meals at their homes and drop off the hot food early Saturday evening. Nutritionally balanced meals are planned for each week and several volunteers sign up to prepare the entrée, side dishes or desserts (usually 6-8 servings each). In addition, other volunteers purchase beverages (milk and juice), bread, lunch meat and other essential items.
If I volunteer to handle the laundry how much washing and drying will I be expected to do?
None! Our laundry volunteers put away clean laundry during the week so it can be reused the following Saturday.
Do I have to stay all night?
No. We have shifts starting at 6 p.m., 8:15 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturdays and 3 a.m. Sundays. Cleanup crews start at 6:30 a.m. Sunday and are usually finished in about an hour.
Will I be expected to work a fixed schedule or every week?
Volunteers work schedules that are convenient to them. We ask only that you honor any commitment you make and work the entire shift. If your plans change, please let the Shift Coordinator know as soon as possible so a replacement can be found. Whether you volunteer once a month or more frequently, or only two or three nights during the season, your help is appreciated.
Are any special skills needed?
A friendly smile and a good attitude are the most important qualifications for a PADS volunteer. Everything else you need to know will be described during an orientation session all volunteers (for positions with guest contact) must attend. This basic volunteer training assures that PADS policies and procedures are consistently applied at all sites. Once you have been trained you may volunteer at any site in the PADS network.
Will there be awkward situations? Am I in any danger?
Strict enforcement of PADS guest rules minimizes the possibility of unpleasant situations. Personal safety is important and before any situation is allowed to escalate to an unsafe condition, police will be summoned. Other volunteers are always available for assistance and support. Health experts do not believe there is any abnormal communicative health risk associated with this work. Common sense and basic preventative practices, such as washing hands, can reduce the risk of exposure to health hazards.
Is there an age requirement?
Journeys’ youth protocol requires that volunteers in the jobs with guest contact must be at least high school juniors.
What do I do now?
PADS Volunteer training schedule
Before becoming a PADS volunteer you must attend a two-hour Volunteer Orientation session before working in a shelter. The conveniently scheduled orientations are conducted by Journeys | The Road Home at its Hope Center, 1140 E. Northwest Highway, Palatine, IL 60074. Youth under 18 will need parental consent before they are allowed to volunteer.
Community meals for the hungry
All Saints participates in a faith-based program that serves community meals once a month during the summer months when the PADS shelters are not open. Although most of the guests at Summer Suppers also regularly use the shelter network in the cold-weather months, at All Saints we extend the invitation to patrons of local food pantries as well as senior centers and the WINGS program. Anyone is welcome to join us for a nutritious, simple supper.
How can I help?
Similar to PADS we need both cooks and shoppers and volunteers to serve the meal. There is a sign-up book listing both food and volunteer needs in the church narthex.
Cooks prepare the requested menu items or purchase fresh fruit, other un-cooked foods and beverages. Each box on the sign-up page indicates a specified number of servings; sign up for what you are comfortable donating.
Hosting our guests and serving supper requires a dozen volunteers each month. They set up the dining room and serving line; warm entrée, vegetables and side dishes if necessary; serve the supper; distribute water, fruit, energy bars and other items offered to guests as the leave; bus table; wash dishes; and clean up at the end of the night. These volunteers work 2½ – 3 hours. Unlike PADS, no training is required. Summer Suppers is an ideal opportunity for families to work together. Teens and tweens, working with a parent, are welcome to volunteer.
Need more information?
Send an email to Communitymeals@AllSaintsPalatine.org or contact one of the coordinators.