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Naperville Couple One of Many Benefitting from Naperville CARES

Naperville CARES will be holding Cuisine for a Cause, which raises money to help families in need in Naperville.

Submitted by Naperville CARES

Julie Acanfora-Hamning moved to Naperville with her now husband Chris when he received a promotion and raise. They were shocked when, as they were moving in the last of their boxes, he was informed that the company was filing bankruptcy and he was going to be laid off.  

Although Julie was still employed, the couple found themselves unable to afford the rent they had taken on. Julie had a chronic medical condition so, with no medical insurance, they watched medical and credit card bills pile up. Chris took on temporary jobs and became depressed and discouraged. Julie wasn’t doing much better. Without her medication she was becoming ill. They did not have electricity, were hungry and freezing, yet living in a luxury apartment. Because their credit was ruined and their rent was chronically late, they were unable to obtain a new place to live.

“We didn’t have the energy to even know what to do and it was getting worse,” said Julie. 

Facing eviction, Julie and Chris called Naperville CARES. The organization was able to not only provide financial assistance, but also put Julie and Chris in touch with the many agencies in Naperville and DuPage County that could provide additional aid. In addition, Naperville CARES was able to get the couple moved into a lower rent apartment in the same complex. They were taught how to keep their electricity and gas on by applying for special low income programs. They were given information on how to obtain groceries from the food pantry. Julie was also encouraged to call her doctor and explain her situation which led to help with her medications and free office visits.

“By talking with CARES I learned that there were so many people and places willing and happy to help,” said Julie, “I had to learn who to talk to and where to go and even what to say. I didn’t even know so many of these resources existed.”

Feeling better about their situation, Chris enrolled in college classes and got a part time job. He discovered he was math and computer whiz. He now is a successful software designer and Julie works as in outpatient care as a medical assistant. The couple got married and is currently having their first house built.

“Chris and I are educated, suburban, hard-working, loving, and family oriented,” said Julie, “Hard times can happen to everyone.”

Since 1998, Naperville CARES has assisted local families in financial crisis meet their basic needs by providing emergency financial support and resources. To support their mission, the nonprofit organization will be holding its 9th annual fundraiser, “Cuisine for a Cause”, on Saturday, April 21, from 7:00 to 10:30 p.m. at Tellabs Global Headquarters in Naperville.  Over 25 Naperville restaurants will present samples of their signature dishes, as well as wine and beer tasting, entertainment, raffles and auctions.  Admission to the event is $90 per person.  Reservations may be made online at www.NapervilleCARES.org or by calling the CARES office at (630) 369-0200. A portion of each ticket is tax-deductible.

“CARES gets calls from hundreds of people like Julie each year who need help to pay their rent or utilities or need a car to get to work,” said Naperville CARES’ executive director, , “That is why we are so lucky to have Karen Garlough, owner of My Chef Catering, once again chair the steering committee for our biggest fundraiser of the year, “Cuisine for a Cause.”  Karen and her committee are dedicated to creating a wonderful event designed to welcome and entertain our guests while raising funds for the programs of Naperville CARES.”

Headquartered in Naperville, IL, Naperville CARES has provided over $1.1 million in short-term financial support and resources to meet the basic needs of local families in crisis. In addition, through their Car Donation Program, CARES has supplied over 500 donated vehicles to eligible households. Naperville CARES welcomes your support of Toasting for a Cause, Cuisine for a Cause, Tix4Cause, CARESGiver, CARES Car Donation program and other events. For more information visit www.NapervilleCARES.org.

Patch is not written by real journalists! April 01, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Why don't you idiots proof-read before you post your so-called journalism articles???
Sandy brasile April 01, 2012 at 03:57 AM
What???? You are an angry person. This article shows what a wonderful organization cares is and the impact it can have turning someone's life around. Shame on you.
M. Koch April 01, 2012 at 01:44 PM
I know it is not required but do any of the recipients pay back the financial support they received once they are back on their feet? The couple in the article are now building a home and employed. I was just wondering. Paying it forward.
Julie Acanfora-Hamning April 19, 2012 at 02:52 PM
That is an excellent question. We were helped in 2000 and the reason we were selected for this article is that I send money and thank you notes repeatedly over the last 10 years. We have given back over 3 times what we received. I have felt paying it back was important both in time and in money so that no one ever had to go through that. This truly is a good point.
Julie Acanfora-Hamning April 19, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Hello. I am the person listed in this article. It is truly an excellent point that is not listed in the article. Yes, people pay back in both time and money the support shown. The reason we were selected for this article was that we send money and thank you notes many times a year. We were helped in 2001-2002ish and have been giving money and time since then so that no one has to be turned away. We have given back financially much more than we were aided with but what the organization has given us is unmeasurable. While it is not required, it is important for pride to give back. Unless you have been through it, you have no idea how degrading it is to ask for help and CARES never treated us like that. Yes, people give back just to help others. Thank you for bringing it up and providing an excellent point.

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