Flood Brings Community Together for Overnight Site
However this storm cloud truly had a silver lining, as First Congregational turned the flood into an opportunity to update their site amenities to better serve DuPage Pads’ clients.
Prior to the flood, the church had one shower, washer and dryer. The redesigned space now has four showers and two large washers and dryers. “Before we could do about ten showers a night, now we will be able to do four times that amount,” Site Coordinator Tom Williams said.
While insurance covered the flood damage, the church had to raise $82,000 for the enhancements. “What amazed me was the wide-spread community support we received. We communicated that we were raising money for this project and one amazing surprise after another kept coming in,” said Williams.
Help came from a Downers Grove Village Trustee, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, St. Paul United Church of Christ, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, the Downers Grove Junior Women’s Club and “100 Women Who Care”. Fundraisers were held at First Congregational Church, Tom & Eddies in Lombard and by Downers Grove North High School students.
“When we were considering redoing the space we thought, ‘What is the price of human dignity?’ If we give people a respectful place to shower and clean up or if they could have clean clothes for a job interview or to take their kids to school, we are helping to restore dignity,” said First Congregational’s Pastor, Scott Oberle.
“We have found that the greatest gift you can give is letting people know ‘you are not alone,’ and our renovated space is a reflection of that.”