Success Stories

 

Helping Families with Children

Across DuPage County, more than 74,000 people don’t have enough to eat – 32,490 are children. In November 2016, HCS Family Services opened a pantry at Anne M. Jeans Elementary School in Willowbrook to better serve families with children in our community.

For parents like Tricie, whose husband is a supervisor at a national transportation company, but whose employer has limited his hours to part-time, the food pantry at Anne M. Jeans Elementary School is a lifeline for their family.

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You see, when there’s not enough money to cover all the monthly household expenses, families are forced to decide which bills get paid each month. Rent, utilities and gas in the car to get to work are often first considerations. That means there’s often little, if any money, for food.

The family has visited HCS Family Services in past, but after their second car broke down, getting to Hinsdale has been a challenge for the mom of four.

“Having a pantry at Anne M. Jeans Elementary School is very helpful. I can walk there,” Tricie told us.

Thanks to the support of our generous donors and volunteers, moms like Tricie know their children will always have access to milk, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables and other nutritious foods they need to grow physically and intellectually.

Burr Ridge Community Consolidated School District Superintendent Dr. Thomas Schneider sees many benefits in having a school pantry at Anne M. Jeans Elementary School. “If a child is hungry, that student isn’t going to learn,” he said noting that children who are hungry have difficulty concentrating and are absent more often.

 

Meet Jonathon

Eight years ago, Jonathon was looking at a bright future. A week away from his 21st birthday, he was athletic, had a girlfriend and a bunch of close friends, and was five months away from graduating with a bachelor of science degree. Then, a horrific accident changed everything.

6-15-16 Jonathan Magic at Mobile Pantry

His family says it was a miracle he survived; his heart had stopped four times as doctors worked to save him. After weeks in a coma, it took years for Jonathon to learn to walk and talk again. Because he needed around-the-clock support, Jonathon’s mother quit her job to care for him. She now also cares for her ailing mother.

Without income, credit cards are maxed, medical bills mount, and Jonathon’s mom worries about how she’ll pay their increasing property taxes. 

But thanks to the support of donors like you, Jonathon and his mom don’t worry about going hungry. They are grateful for the variety of meat, fresh produce and other foods HCS Family Services offers them. 

Jonathon and his mom also look forward to their visits to HCS Family Services for another reason: the friendships they’ve made. In many ways, their mobile pantry visits are a social outing that allows them to forget about their troubles for an hour or two.

“It’s more than just the food, it’s therapy,” said Jonathon, who, is retaking his college courses one at a time to earn his bachelor’s degree.

 

Parent Mentor Success Story -

I visited with Diana Maloya today at the Food Pantry.  She was so enthusiastic about the Parenting Program.  She said it has changed the way she is living her life now.  She has lost 20lbs, walks about 3 miles a day and has had a wonderful summer with her daughter.  The daughter thinks her Mom has changed – before didn’t want to get up in the morning – was depressed and didn’t take time for them together.  They have done everything from a picnic in Waterfall Glen – where they walk now to going to the Library programs together.  Diana said that although she has no money, she has changed the way she looks life – due to the parenting program and sharing her concerns with other mothers and her mentor.

How’s your family life?  Do you find it hard to be a parent in today’s world?  HCS Family Services has been conducted a Parent Mentor Program fro several years and is making a difference with parents and children.  The program stresses practical communication skills that have been shown to improve communication.  Let me tell you about Nancy.

Nancy felt she was not communicating well with her daughter.  The two of them were getting frustrated and separating from each other.  Nancy does suffer from mild depression and her mood swings did impact her family.  Nancy participated in HCS’ Parent Mentor Program and after just seven weeks, things are coming together for her.  She is very enthusiastic about the program but even more enthusiastic for a relationship with her daughter.  Nancy is losing weight, exercising and comments that although she has no money, she has fun with her daughter and friends.

The Parent Mentor class is about learning communication and behavioral skills, but it is also about sharing with other parents.  Nancy has participated in every class and activity and the instructor has commented that she has been a dramatic change in her attitudes toward life.  We attribute much of these changes to her active participation in this program.

The Parent Mentor class is about learning communication and behavioral skills, but it is also about sharing with other parents.  Nancy has participated in every class and activity and the instructor has commented that she has been a dramatic change in her attitudes toward life.  We attribute much of these changes to her active participation in this program.