Senator Secures $250K To Help Beloved Tinley Social Services Agency – Patch

TINLEY PARK, IL — A beloved and vital social services agency in Tinley Park finding itself in a tough financial spot will soon get some relief from state funding.

Struggling to reopen after a November fire caused substantial damage, Together We Cope said last week it was facing $100,000 in losses not covered by insurance, and its opening would potentially be delayed until April. Repairs continue after the fire shut down its client services office, food pantry and Nu2u resale shop. Staff learned late last week that they would be the recipient of the kind of support and help the agency usually doles out. Sen. Mike Hastings (D-Frankfort) has secured a $250,000 grant to bail out the agency.

Hastings said he was moved to help Together We Cope because of the important role they play in helping the region’s families in need.

“I was able to work with my colleagues in the General Assembly to secure money for Together We Cope from money included in the Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan fund,” Hastings wrote in a statement to Patch. “Together We Cope is an important social services organization that provides a range of resources to needy families, women, and children who are facing crisis so they can stay in their homes.

Together We Cope Director of Communications Marge Seltzner said the agency has been able to “continue assisting families in need in a variety of ways because of the generosity of our donors,” with staff working from their administrative offices in a separate location.

The delays are related to problems workers have encountered, most likely due to the building’s age.

“It’s an old building, so it’s not surprising to find things that need to be fixed, some of which won’t be covered by insurance,” Seltzner told Patch.

Without their main space, the agency is unable to accept most of what its usual items: no food, clothing, or furniture donations can be accepted at the main building while repairs are being made. The agency can accept personal care items for families in need. Donations of diapers and baby food, specifically, are welcome. Donors can call 708-633-5040 to arrange for delivery of such items to their administration building.

In light of the limitations caused by the delay in reopening, news of the funding touched Seltzner.

“We’re grateful for Sen. Hastings’ support at a time when we need it most!” Seltzner wrote to Patch. “Depending on the timing of the state’s release of the funds, this development could allow us to reopen a little sooner and provide some improvements to the building that let us serve people more efficiently, particularly in the food pantry.”

With over 200 volunteers, community donations of food, clothing and household goods, and groceries purchased from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the agency typically serves more than 1,500 families each month. Their services reach 27 communities, including Alsip, Blue Island, Bridgeview, Chicago Ridge, Country Club Hills, Crestwood, Evergreen Park, Garden Homes, Harvey, Hazel Crest, Hickory Hills, Hometown, Homewood, Markham, Merrionette Park, Midlothian, Oak Forest, Oak Lawn, Orland Hills, Orland Park, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Palos Park, Posen, Robbins, Tinley Park and Worth.

“The fire that crippled (Together We Cope’s) Tinley Park food pantry just before Thanksgiving is not only a tragedy for them but also for all the needy women, children and families they serve,” Hastings wrote in a statement to Patch. “The funding will help them to get their food pantry and resale shop back up and running again, so they can continue to help others in the 27 suburban communities they serve.”

Sen. Hastings serves the 19th District, which includes the communities of Bonnie Brae, Country Club Hills, Flossmoor, Frankfort, Frankfort Square, Hazel Crest, Homer Glen, Homewood, Ingalls Park, Joliet, Lemont, Lockport, Lockport Heights, Markham, Marley, Matteson, Mokena, New Lenox, Oak Forest, Olympia Fields, Orland Hills, Orland Park, Park Forest, Richton Park, Tinley Park and University Park.

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via rk2’s favorite articles on Inoreader

February 10, 2023 at 11:32AM

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