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Sign up here for the OPT Retreat 2023

Our partners at Housing Forward (formerly PADS) have stepped up to open an overnight homeless shelter for individuals and families experiencing homelessness through the harsh winter months of January - April 2023. 
They have supplies, now they just need the hands and hearts of those who can volunteer – to make & serve food, check in clients, help set up and break down sleeping areas, and keep the shelter running smoothly. There are 3 shifts available, in 2 to 4-hour increments, 7 days a week, between 6:30pm - 7:00am. The one exception is the second shift, overnight, which can be split into a 4 hour shift or the superhero shift that is 7 hours! Dinner and breakfast is designed to be contributed by volunteers. The shelter’s modest size (15-client capacity), means this volunteer ask is manageable, and even enjoyable knowing you are helping your community live with dignity on their path to permanent housing. Volunteers assist Housing Forward staff present onsite at each shift.
Oak Park Temple provided the first dinner, and Rabbi Kirzane volunteered for the first morning shift. Confident the shelter is well-managed, we now are opening this up to the broader OPT community hoping you will be able to choose a shift, or donate a meal. Details below, and the attached flier provide more information. 
You can volunteer with OPT or volunteer on your own. Please contact Caitlin Roukin at to sign up to volunteer with OPT. Also, we will host a Q&A via Zoom (regular link) for our OPT community on Monday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 pm.
If you prefer to sign up individually with Housing Forward, please visit HF’s volunteer signup portal HERE (interactive calendar lets you select the shift/duty, and has orientation information). Please identify yourself as an Oak Park Temple volunteer when you do.
Here are the main details:
Location: Rectory of St. Catherine of Siena church, 38 Austin Blvd, Oak Park. 
Shelter Hours (for clients): 6:30pm - 6:30am; 7 days/week Jan thru April 2023
MEALS: Provide Hot Dinner, Bagged Lunch, or Continental Breakfast for 25. (Note: If you are able to prepare but not deliver, a member of OPT could pick up from you and deliver to St. Catherine's.) 
Evening Shelter Host (6:30pm - 10pm): Volunteers help get set-up for the evening, greet the shelter guests as they arrive help them to set up their sleeping area, host dinner, and interact with clients until lights out;
Overnight Attendant (10pm - 5am):  Volunteers support staff in ensuring a safe experience for the shelter guests
Breakfast Host (5am -7am):  Volunteers serve a light breakfast, help shelter guests exit and assist with light clean-up 
Housing Forward contact:
Cherrell Jackson at
Volunteer & Community Outreach Manager
708.338.1724 x201

Housing Forward

The Prophets exhort us to follow a long-standing tradition of hospitality among the Jewish people. Our own recent history, with its exiles and expulsions, reminds us that we have a special obligation to provide for those with no protection.

Oak Park Temple has met that obligation for nearly two decades. We are a founding congregation of Housing Forward (formerly West Suburban PADS), a non-profit agency created in 1992 to provide emergency food and shelter to homeless individuals and families in west suburban Cook County.

Since its founding, Housing Forward has grown from providing emergency food and shelter to homeless individuals and families to offering a holistic approach to helping those in need.

Learn more about Housing Forward.

Sign up to volunteer here...


Wed, February 8 2023 17 Sh'vat 5783