Dear Compassion and Justice Core,
Since our move to campus, we have had an amazing run, experiencing great joys and challenges. Our greatest challenge has been that the demand for the Care Center’s services is greater than our ability to meet them within our current hours of operation. For the last couple of months, as a staff team, we have been thinking through how we might focus our services to better serve and develop relationships with our guests, honor our volunteers, and fulfill the second part of our mission statement “so that lives are transformed and Jesus is known.” In order to accomplish all of this, our first step was to implement a cut-off when we reached our capacity. While this has worked very well in terms of honoring our volunteers and having the ability to go deeper with guests, it has been very difficult to turn people away when we need to close our doors.
With that in mind, we have been continuing to work toward a better solution. Before you continue reading, I want you to know we have felt God’s presence guiding and instructing us in this decision. We have full support from the Executive Team and Elders. We move forward prayerfully as we desire to implement this plan in a manner consistent with His will.
Taking into account our mission statement and the compelling data we have about where the highest percentage of our guests live, we have arrived at an overall strategy that allows us to serve guests who are most likely to engage in our church, which allows us to serve them in a holistic and empowering way. We believe this approach will help prevent us from needing to turn people away from the Care Center, particularly our members and those in the church’s footprint. This focus will allow us to spend our energy on those in our footprint and at the same time honor our strategy to partner with our regional churches.
Whom will we serve?
- Members and involved Willow attenders, regardless of where they live and which regional location they attend
- Individuals who live in the footprint of our South Barrington campus, which includes the communities identified on the map below
- Vulnerable people (for example, orphans, widows, elderly disabled, veterans, Safe Family parents, homeless) who are referred from our current or future local community partnerships
How will we serve them?
- All guests may make 3 visits for food (no questions asked); however, upon their fourth visit, guests will be required to meet with a Care Team member to share their personal situation
- Members will be served on an appointment-only basis for all services, including food, so we are sure not turn any of them away.
- We are in the process of determining how we define what it means to be an “involved attender.”
On November 1, we intend to begin a comprehensive communication strategy about these changes in the way we will serve guests, and intend to have the changes fully implemented by January 1. During the transition, guests who visit us but live outside the geographical radius will be given a one-time “grace” visit. Additionally, we will begin providing emergency bags of groceries to those who arrive after we have reached capacity. Please pray that the transition will be smooth, that God gives us wisdom and instruction, and that we are able to serve our guests with the highest level of dignity and the love of Christ.
Peace and Blessings,
We will serve households living in the following communities:
Elk Grove Village
Fox River Grove
Lake in the Hills