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’Tis the season for added stress, struggles

Published: Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 1:00 p.m. CDT

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It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas is right around the corner.  I love holidays as much as the next person, but understand they can be stressful. Extra money is spent on holiday food or gifts, causing financial stress. In addition to that, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the social expectations of friends and family.

To many, the holiday struggles are just a part of life that is dealt with, but to some the struggles are larger than they can handle. So I wanted to take this time to provide everyone with some of the resources available in Grundy County to help you survive the winter and holiday season.

Living in the Midwest, we deal with a variety of weather patterns. Winter with its blizzards, ice and subzero temperatures can be unbearable for those without a home. Grundy County does have a local overnight PADS shelter operated out of various churches in Morris. PADS is operated from October to April. 

With winter comes layoffs from many jobs in and around Grundy.  Some of these jobs will be regained once spring comes around, but others will not. In any event, Joliet Junior College’s Grundy Workforce Center is a great place to get assistance with your employment search or increasing your credentials.

Unfortunately, winter can also bring high electric or gas bills, in addition to the normal rent or mortgage bill.There are several agencies in Grundy which can assist individuals having a difficult time paying their utilities or rent/mortgage. Kendall-Grundy Community Action runs the Illinois low-income energy program, which is referred to as LIHEAP. For those struggling to make a rent or mortgage payment one month, We Care of Grundy County and Catholic Charities may be able to assist through their emergency assistance programs. 

With the raise in layoffs and increased utility bills, winter can be a tough time financially. Some families may find they have limited financial resources to spend on holiday food and/or gifts. We Care provides assistance with Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, as well as Christmas gifts for children; however, applications must be completed and returned to We Care by Nov. 16 in order to be considered. 

The holidays can also be challenging for individuals struggling with addictions, including food and alcohol addictions. Holidays can also be a struggle for those who are grieving for any reason. There are several organizations in Grundy that offer individual and family counseling.

Contact information for the agencies listed above are available through 941-HELP. 941-HELP is a program of the Community Foundation of Grundy County in conjunction with the Interagency Council of Grundy County.

941-HELP can be accessed a number of ways including: by calling (815) 941-HELP; visiting www.815941help.com; finding us on Facebook; or visiting one of our many card racks or touch screen kiosks throughout the county. 

In addition to individual counseling, there are several Blue Christmas events for those grieving this holiday season. Angels of Hope will hold its annual candlelight vigil for those suffering from the physical absence of a child on at 7 p.m. Dec. 6, at Campbell Park in Coal City. A secular Blue Christmas event will be held  from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 9, Morris Hospital Whitman Conference Room. For more information, contact Steve at (815) 252-4744. 

Morris United Methodist Church’s Blue Christmas event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 10. Minooka United Methodist Church will hold their service at 7 p.m. Dec. 16, and Coal City United Methodist Church’s event will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 21. For more information on these events, please contact the individual church. 

It has been said Grundy County organizations and residents pride themselves on taking care of their own. This is evident in the number programs available to assist those in need this holiday season. I would encourage anyone looking for assistance this winter, whether it be for utilities, food, prescriptions, counseling or employment to check out 941-HELP for more information on a local organization who can assist with your needs.

I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season!

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