Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A PATH to Hope

(Thank you to PATH for permission to use their logo)

            I was at the park with my daughter the other day when her friend fell and got a bloody lip.  I quickly whipped out the napkins that were in my pocket and handed them to his mother.  Another parent ran to his car and retrieved a bottle of water to wash the wound.  In a few minutes, the crisis was taken care of. 

Wouldn’t it be great if all crises could be solved this smoothly?  The Palatine Assisting through Hope (PATH) organization has created a network to do just that.  Spearheaded by Rich Tyack, PATH has an email network of volunteers who spring into action when the organization is informed of a crisis situation.  For example, a fire displaces a family.  PATH is called and they immediately email the volunteers with a list of needs.  Joe responds to the email that he has a bag of clothes that will fit the youngest boy.  Marie responds to the email that she just won a one hundred dollar gift card in the sweepstakes at her grocery store and she would love to donate it to the family.  Jimmy has just updated his son’s bedroom and emails PATH his intent to donate a bed.  Soon, people who had just lost everything have a fresh start thanks to the email volunteers.  A community rises up to help their fellow man in need. 

This is the dream that Rich Tyack and his friends shared while volunteering at the Palatine Opportunity Center.  Crisis after crisis came into the center and after a while, Rich and his friends decided that there had to be a better way.  While they were on a fishing trip they hatched the plan to create PATH. 

            Most births come with some pain and the birth of PATH was no different.  There were some growing pains and lessons that had to be learned.  Just as we can’t do everything for our children, they had to learn that they couldn’t help everyone.  They decided to focus on crisis situations. 

            Beyond dealing with crisis situations, PATH has created an annual outreach program named, “Day of Giving.”    The event is the Friday evening and the Saturday morning after Thanksgiving.  Volunteers prepare for this day the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving by helping to sort and move the donated items.  It’s a wonderful way for the whole family to be involved helping out others.  On the “Day of Giving,” families that are in need are given bags to fill with the donated items.  Typically 1500 people are served on this day.

            PATH’s board is made up of three members who are volunteers with a day job on the side.  The success of this organization is dependent on volunteers who have a strong desire to help others get a leg up when they are down.  If you are interested in volunteering to be a part of the email network or to help out in the “Day of Giving” event please visit their website at

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