Special to the News-Sun

WAUKEGAN ---- Six Lake County social service agencies have received more than $67,855 raised in the annual Help Them to Hope holiday fund-raising drive.

The funds were disbursed Thursday, Feb. 4, by the Help Them to Hope board of directors at a meeting with officials of the agencies at Catholic Charities headquarters, Waukegan.

The six agencies benefiting from the successful 56th annual Hope Fund drive, which ran from Thanksgiving Day 2015 to the middle of January 2016, include Catholic Charities, Christian Outreach of Lutherans (COOL), Open Arms Mission, Beacon Place, Community Social Services and Mothers Trust Foundation.

Leaders from the agencies said funding from the donations was welcomed as their clients have been impacted by the continuing budget impasse between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-controlled Legislature, along with social service funding cuts at the federal level.

Even despite funding cuts, the agencies continue to provide helping services to Lake County's neediest families, they said, which include the unemployed, working poor and homeless

All of the agencies have seen an uptick in clients seeking help, from housing to food, officials said.

Agency leaders praised Help Them to Hope donors for providing a "safety net" throughout the year for Lake County's neediest residents.

Help Them to Hope President Richard A. Ribando said the agencies support the mission of the charity by providing "food, shelter and clothing" for Lake County citizens who face economic hurdles.

"There was an outpouring of donations this year from residents across Lake County who saw a need to help their neighbors,' Ribando said. " We thank them for coming to aid them with their generosity." He stressed that all donations stay in Lake County and are used to benefit residents across the county.

The 2016-17 Help Them to Hope fund drive will begin Thanksgiving Day, although donations are accepted throughout the year. For more information visit www.HelpThemToHope.org or write Help Them to Hope at P.O. Box 364, Gurnee, Il 60031. 


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