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.