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Joliet shelters still open during pandemic

Daybreak Center still is open and serving guests, but it's modified some of its services in light of the pandemic.
Daybreak Center still is open and serving guests, but it's modified some of its services in light of the pandemic.

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Catholic Charities’ Daybreak Center still is open, but with a few changes.

As of Tuesday, Shepherd’s Table will be open only for guests at the shelter, Kathleen Langdon, director of develop and communications for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet, said in an email.

Anyone else may come to the outside back door between noon to 12:30 p.m. each day for a bag meal, she said.

“Because the CDC is requiring clients sleep head to toe instead of all facing in the same direction, our capacity will be reduced to 36 in the men’s dorm and 24 in the women’s dorm,” Langdon wrote. “Family shelter space is yet to be determined.”

Staff also will ask screening questions at intake and at meal times. Guests with cold symptoms or guests who’ve been around people with colds or flu will be monitored, Langdon said.

Staff will contact the Will County Health Department for advice if they encounter guests who’ve had fever, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea in the past week.

In addition, Daybreak Center is suspending all face-to-face services, including emergency services, homeless prevention and classes. It will conduct appointments and counsel over the phone and will send documents via computer and fax.

“Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet Daybreak Center plans to keep our homeless shelter open as long as possible,” Langdon said.

To do so, the center needs volunteers for its mobile food pantry, to prepare and serve dinner, to do porch pickups of donations and to clean and sanitize the shelter every two hours. Bring donations to 611 E. Cass St. in Joliet.

How other agencies are faring

Jeanne Lazzara, development and program liaison for MorningStar Mission in Joliet said the mission has not changed its feeding schedule.

It did stock up on hand sanitizer, which anyone coming through the door must use, she said.

Volunteers who are sick should stay home and anyone coming to the mission who is obviously ill is sent to the hospital, Lazzara said.

“We’re just trying to keep clean and make sure people still get their food,” Lazzara said.

Lazzara said MorningStar Mission averages about 175 meals a week and that’s been consistent, although she’s uncertain what this week will bring.

It could use donations of of Clorox wipes and bottled water. The mission currently has plenty of food and toilet paper, Lazzara said.

“We might see the after effect of people stockpiling,” she said. “So far, we’re doing all right.”

Call MorningStar Mission at 815-726-4834.

The amount of people needing food at The Salvation Army in Joliet actually went down this past week, volunteer coordinator Linda Trevino said.

The Salvation Army distributes food form noon to 3 p.m. every Monday, Trevino said. About 35 people usually come out.

“This week we only had 20,” Trevino said.

Trevino said Salvation Army’s shower program will continue. That service is available from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 2:15 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

“We have one shower for the women and one for the men,” Trevino said.

Like MorningStar Mission, the Salvation Army also could use Clorox wipes. Call 815-726-4834.

How to help

Daybreak Center in Joliet needs the following donations: Cash, Clorox wipes, bleach, hand sanitizers, Ziploc bags (sandwich, quart and gallon), paper cups (3 and 5 ounces), thermometers with covers, garbage cans, masks, gowns, bag lunch supplies, bottled water, fresh lunch meat, condiments, bread, brown paper lunch bags and individual serving size cookies and snacks.

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