Today, I continue February's series highlighting local charities. Last year, I learned about a Palatine organization called PATH which helps local families in need and am thrilled to share this charity with you. Standing for Palatine Assisting Through Hope, PATH provides a means that community members can reach out and help local families struggling to meet their own basic needs. The network that PATH has created and continues to expand in the community not only helps families in crisis but also strengthens the fabric of the community as a whole.
Recently, I connected with Ramona Tyack of PATH. Ramona provided me with some more information about PATH and how you can help local families as well. Learn how you can spread some love and kindness in the community with PATH:
What is the mission of PATH?
PATH is an organization dedicated to empowering people in need. This mission is carried out by providing food, clothing, and other basic needs for families in crisis. A variety of programs for underprivileged children are also supported. PATH’s ultimate goal is to transform lives by connecting those who need them with vital community resources in the Greater Palatine Area.
What are some of the main programs supported by PATH?
PATH supports the POC “Partners of our Community” in providing education for local families. PATH supports Edgebrook which offers after school programs for local children. PATH supports ICompete which provides a link between elementary age kids and high school kids to keep them active at school. PATH supports local, unaddressed high school students with Holiday bags and food gift cards. In addition, PATH coordinates fall clothing drives with local businesses whereby the collected items and winter items are donated to the underprivileged families in Palatine and other communities.
|PATH's Community Closet|
When local social workers know of a family who may be in crisis, they refer their needs to PATH, and then PATH helps them. Sometimes families are just getting by and when they come to a bump in the road, they just need a little assistance to get through a tough situation. PATH helps families who are trying to better themselves. Path is not equipped to provide long lasting care or completely resolve domestic issues. We do however provide some hope and assistance that does make a small difference in the lives of the needy, especially single parents, younger children and teenagers.
Does PATH just serve families in need in Palatine or other suburbs as well?
PATH serves families in District 15 and a few District 211 schools. It is not a requirement to live in Palatine, however most of our referrals come from there. Recently due to the abundance of donated clothing, we provided clothing donations in Waukegan and Chicago serving the less fortunate who have very limited resources.
|Donated jeans at the Community Closet|
Does PATH work with any other organizations?
PATH has partnered with District 15 and Northwest Suburban Council PTA group to run a Community Closet in the basement of the Gray M. Sanborn School. The closet provides FREE gently used closing to local families throughout the school year. The closet also provides NEW socks and underwear for school age children. Also, PATH networks with local businesses in support of clothing drives.
How can local residents become involved in this cause?
Local residents are invited to sort clothing donations at our Community Closet. The closet is open two evenings a month. Visit our website at www.path-palatine.org and click on the Volunteerspot icon. Monetary donations are also accepted via Paypal. PATH is a 501 (3)(c) organization. Our group is all volunteers and our only expenses are those given to families, programs and people in need. PATH also accepts used clothing donations at all District 15 schools. There is a box in the front foyer at each school. We also accept donations of NEW socks and underwear, any size, gender, and style for elementary through high school age students.
Via the website, one can also be part of our email network. When there is a need, sometimes PATH puts out an email to our network, and if someone in our network can fulfill the need, we help make the connection. For example, once a family was in need of a special stroller for their handicapped child that would have cost over $2000. We put out an email request to our network, and someone in our network had a family member with a handicap custom stroller that their child had grown out of. Such a unique situation, but PATH was able to help make the connection. Another recent event was a hard working family barely making ends meet and their refrigerator went out. We put out an email and someone from our network was remodeling their home and getting rid of their old refrigerator.
What have you found the most rewarding in working with the organization?
Helping the children of local families who our children sit next to in our schools. Also, seeing parents faces light up when they are given a little assistance to overcome a hurdle in their lives. It is also very rewarding to see our community come together when volunteers come out and support one of our programs. As a result of volunteering, their awareness of the needy grows exponentially which in turn, compels them to continue to volunteer whenever possible. We like to think our community is a little stronger as a result.
What types of events throughout the year offer the community an opportunity to get involved?
Our closet, see above.
Anything new coming to PATH in 2016?
We are continuing to advertise our closet to the local school staff to refer families to the closet. We would like more families to come to our closet.
Thank you to Ramona for introducing us to PATH! Keep an eye out for our other features this month!
JAI Yoga Studio is also a drop off location for PATH. New packages of socks and/or underwear for children, gently used clothes or money donations can be dropped off during class times or call the studio to arrange a drop off.