Hope Haven hoedown raises funds for DeKalb County homeless shelter
SYCAMORE – As constant snowfall made for slippery driving conditions, attendance at Hope Haven’s annual Hoedown for the Homeless was high Saturday at St. Mary’s Memorial Hall in Sycamore.
For the sixth year in a row, the nonprofit organization offered a respite from the cold with music from the Ethan Bell Band, dancing, a buffet-style meal, drinks and a silent auction. All proceeds will help support Hope Haven through another year of serving the homeless population of DeKalb County.
“We provide meals, shelter, pretty much anything that anyone who is in poverty or an indigent situation is in need of. We provide case management for single women, families, single men in shelter,” said Angie Shaulis, a Hope Haven coordinator who served as an organizer of the event. “And the hoedown is raising funds to help keep providing those nights of shelter that the individuals who are homeless in DeKalb [County] need.”
The amount of money raised won’t be available until Monday, staff at the shelter said Sunday.
With temperatures dropping below zero this winter, those nights of shelter are as necessary as ever. But for Sue Guio, a long-serving member of Hope Haven’s board of directors, the beauty of the organization is the ways that it frequently goes beyond simply fulfilling basic needs.
“The Hope Haven residents and staff are family, and several years ago, we had a gentleman who had been a resident – and this was when we had just the shelter – and he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the Hope Haven staff and residents took care of him,” Guio said. “And when it came to the end of [his] life, and he needed hospice, we had hospice set up at the shelter. It just is so warm and wonderful to know that the staff and residents are all working together to help each other and to make their lives better, even in the hardest of circumstances.”
Although that moment stands out for Guio, she said each month brings a new success story from one of Hope Haven’s branches of service. For Devon Sweeten, who receives housing and support through Hope Haven’s trauma program, success means the opportunity to be a regular high school student.
“I would probably be living with my mother, helping to take care of my other little siblings that she has. I wouldn’t be in sports,” the high school junior said. “[I would be] very stressed.”