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County agencies help care for vulnerable amid bitter cold

Published: Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 10:58 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 11:04 p.m. CDT

Local social organizations and law enforcement agencies were ready to react to the needs of the county’s most vulnerable residents Monday.

As an arctic blast sent McHenry County into a deep freeze, agencies worked to keep the most at-risk residents – among them, the elderly, ailing and homeless – warm and well fed.

A couple county churches opened Monday to serve as warming centers, said Meghan Powell-Filler, PADS behavioral health residential manager. PADS was providing its normal services and was working with other area organizations to provide transportation to keep McHenry County residents from the cold.

PADS also had representatives driving around to train stops and around the county to be visible and available for anyone who needed a ride to shelter.

“The clients and individuals will know the PADS bus,” Powell-Filler said.

McHenry County Undersheriff Andy Zinke said the sheriff’s office was ready to quickly respond to “check for well-being” calls Monday, but the office had only received a couple such calls as of midafternoon.

Zinke urged residents to be good neighbors and check on anyone they know who might have mobility issues or limited communication options.

“In this day and age, you don’t believe it, but there are still people out there without telephones and sometimes without heat,” Zinke said. “We need to make sure they get the attention they need.”

Residents in need of assistance are encouraged to call the United Way’s community help line at 2-1-1 or the McHenry County Crisis Line at 800-892-8900.

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