Meeting with an old friend to discuss the ups and downs of life over a cup of coffee can be comforting and healing. Township Supervisor Julie Morrison, and the staff of the Township of West Deerfield, has proved itself to be a friend to many, by doing just that.
Through a wide range of programs and services, the township reaches out to community members in order to provide them with necessary assistance. Whether food is needed, transportation is required, or counseling would be helpful, the caring individuals working and volunteering to carry out these programs, are indispensable to those who benefit.
Morrison says, “The one-on-one work that I do with people expressing concern or crisis...it is critical.” Morrison is able to meet with individuals and connect them,
in a “discreet, efficient manner,” to the community resource that will best help in whatever situation they may be faced with. For more than 25 years the food pantry has played a vital role in West Deerfield.
Businesses, church groups, organizations, and even individuals organize food drives to aid in the stocking of the food pantry. The need never ceases, nor do the efforts of concerned citizens. Currently, the food pantry helps to feed about 50 households per month. Also, the food pantry provides holiday meals to a number of area families who may not otherwise be able to enjoy such a meal.
Electricity and gas is more or less essential for modern-day living. The Township of West Deerfield realized a need existed for an energy assistance program and provides financial aid to community members who may require support in paying for such utilities. To qualify an application must be submitted for approval.
The cost of healthcare has skyrocketed to such a degree, that many are unable to pay the premiums charged by insurance companies. Kid Care offers access to healthcare services for children by way of providing the forms and application assistance for the children’s insurance program through the State of Illinois. A multitude of different types of care are available through this program.
The Optimist Club offers assistance through vouchers for Kohl’s Department Store. Morrison can pass these vouchers on to families she believes can use them, many of whom redeem them to purchase back-to-school clothing for their children.
During the summer months, Family Services of Highland Park offers a credit and financial counseling program to help people in “understanding and maneuvering ... difficult financial situations.”
This program includes information about circumstances people may not have to deal with on an everyday basis, such as debt consolidation, foreclosures, and other potentially confusing issues.
During the month of December when presents are being exchanged between friends and family, some are not able to participate in the gift-giving festivities. In the spirit of the season, the Holiday Wish Program provides an avenue to bring some cheer to the community. A gift giver is responsible for purchasing an item wished for by a select community member who may not otherwise receive a gift.
Going Places transit service was put in place to provide transportation for mobility challenged persons, in order to bring these citizens to medical appointments. A number of grants were given to Going Places, as well as funding from other various community organizations. Seniors can pick up coupons for the Hospital Taxi Service from the Village of Deerfield. The coupons help to pay for the cost of taxi fare for those seniors needing to take a trip to the hospital.
Transportation sponsored by the Regional Transportation Authority is available at reduced rates for both seniors and individuals with mobility issues, providing an independent lifestyle that may not have been possible otherwise.
Additionally, the Deerfield Public Library instituted the Books To Go! Program, which picks up and delivers books to these individuals and provides further services.
According to Morrison, the Township of West Deerfield does its best to never duplicate the services provided by neighboring communities, instead, it attempts to introduce programs that “compliment and support” them.