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Hope’s Front Door hoping to build community exposure

Published: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 2:34 p.m. CDT

WOODRIDGE – With 18 percent of its clients coming from the Woodridge area, Hope’s Front Door is bringing its first family-orientated fundraiser to town this Saturday.

In support of its Pathways to Employment program, the Downers Grove based walk-in ministry – which serves 3,800 people – will host a pasta dinner at Shanahan’s Food and Spirits, 1999 W. 75th St., with two different seatings at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Pathways to Employment helps those in need of employment find jobs, according to program director Diane Ray. Ray said as part of the program, Hope’s Front Door sends out a list of job openings in the area to its clients every week.

“We provide transportation and work clothing to people who are getting [jobs] or looking for jobs,” Ray said. 

The program also works in conjunction with Westwood College’s DuPage Campus in Woodridge, she said, adding the school sends career service advisers to the organization to help people with resume writing, interview techniques and more.

Hopes Front Door has been sending out job lists to its clients for the past 12 years, according to executive director Janell Robinson.

“Part of what we’re doing with Pathways is building a partnership where employers will advertise [openings] with us or come in and do on site recruitment,” Robinson said. 

“The fact that we could find a partner with that kind of experience, that’s what makes us unique – these strong partnerships in the community.”

Saturday’s fundraiser will include a balloon sculptor, face painting, games and a few raffle prizes, according to Ray. There will be a cash bar for adults. Ray said although families haven’t always been the focus of past events, they’re hoping to attract families around the area with the buffet-style dinner.

“There’s a connection between families maintaining a stable household and helping other families who are struggling,” Ray said. “We hope people come out, bring the kids and just enjoy a nice family dinner at a neighborhood place.”

Proceeds from the pasta dinner will go almost exclusively to the transportation efforts for the program.

The transportation aspect of Hope’s Front Door includes fuel gift cards or train and bus passes, according to Robinson.

“If you can’t get to the interview, you can’t get the job,” Robinson said. “For many who have been out of work, transportation can post a barrier with them finding a job.”

Another reason for the family orientated event is to raise the organization’s profile in the community, according to Robinson, who said Hope’s Front Door serves Downers Grove, Darien, Lisle, Westmont, Willowbrook and Woodridge residents along with PADS members and those who are in abuse shelters.

“We want to raise funds [Saturday] but we also want to education people and help neighbors in crisis,” Robinson said.

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