Domestic violence challenges the sense of well-being that allows people to thrive, and many of us take for granted that it can't happen in areas as beautiful as Lake County.
In collaboration with Community Social Services, PADS crisis service and their sister parish, Most Blessed Trinity in Waukegan, St. Patrick’s Church in Lake Forest will hold its first rummage sale from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (July 16).
Volunteers and parish members have come together to organize the sale and raise money for House of Peace, a new domestic violence shelter that plans to open in Lake County in September.
“I guess as women, luckily not in a situation like these ladies are facing, we feel that we want to and need to help them. Women should help other women succeed and especially for the children to help them begin their lives in a nonviolent setting and grow up naturally,” said Veronica Pantelis, co-chair of the rummage sale along with Debbie Block.
PADS is one of the leading shelters in Lake County providing services to combat welfare dependency and homelessness among individuals and families. PADS has the highest count of beds available in this area. But it cannot sustain the need for housing that includes, not only a growing population of local residents, but also Vietnam veterans who are still in need of social services.
“There are other domestic violence shelters in the Lake County area, but they are all full, so there is nowhere for these women and children to go,” Pantelis said.
Unlike PADS, which provides general emergency shelter and crisis services throughout northeast Illinois, House of Peace will be a shelter specifically focused on women and children who are victims of domestic violence.
“We have many groups and individuals that volunteer at the Food Pantry, Soup Kitchen and PADS, so when the opportunity, and unfortunately the need, was seen to open a domestic violence shelter, many in our parish have pitched in,” said Pantelis.
In 2010, 464 persons were defined as homeless in Lake County. Approximately 47 percent of women in Lake County meet the definition of homeless. Homelessness due to domestic violence accounts for 15 percent of all homeless victims.*
Carmen Patlan, director of Social Concerns for Most Blessed Trinity Parish, said she introduced the idea of House of Peace when Penrtalis and Block visited as part of a group from St. Patrick's.
"During that tour, I shared the tragic situations many women and children faced with domestic violence," Patlan said. "I mentioned that our biggest challenge was the lack of shelters and how a house would be of huge help to our outreach program."
A rummage sale became the fund-raising tool from watching other churches conduct them.
“So we thought we would give it a shot. Initially we were worried that we would not get enough stuff to sell, but that certainly is not the case!” Pantelis said.
The sale organizers, in fact, received so many donations, they had to turn further donations away for lack of space.
“One of the biggest challenges to the sale is going through all the items and getting it organized in a small amount of time," Pantelis said.
The sale will include furniture, toys, clothes, shoes and other domestic-related items such as linens and lamps.
Patlan looks forward to putting the rummage sale proceed to work.
“The shelter is set to open in September and as we continue to move forward with much-needed programming for women and children, the funds from the rummage sale will be truly beneficial," Patlan said. "What makes the House of Peace unique is that we are very aware that cultures are all different and our goal at the House of Peace is to assure programming that is culturally sensitive to the needs of the clients."
*Lake County Point-in-Time Count, Jan. 28, 2010.