Since 2000, our doors have been open to all our neighbors in need. Hope’s Front Door owes its existence to a group of area clergy and community leaders whose growing concern about area residents’ emergency needs resulted in its formation. The group wanted a central location in which residents from six villages could come to receive assistance while the services provided could be tracked in a responsible manner. Initially, we operated independently under the wing of nonprofit LOVE Christian Clearinghouse, supplying vouchers for food, transportation, car repair and lodging to clients seeking assistance in our six-community service area: Darien, Downers Grove, Lisle, Westmont, Willowbrook and Woodridge.
As we broadened our face-to-face services, it became apparent that we could better serve our clients and seek funding from a broader range of community members by operating independently of LOVE. We incorporated in the State of Illinois as the Walk-In Ministry of Hope on November 21, 2003. We applied to the Internal Revenue Service and received our 501(c)(3) nonprofit determination letter dated April 30, 2004. Since July 2013, we have been operating as Hope’s Front Door.
There is a growing need in our communities for emergency assistance for individuals and families in crisis; they range from the working poor to the recently unemployed to the chronic homeless. In the past, they traveled from church to church seeking assistance. This places a burden on church staff and in-house resources and results in the uneven distribution of resources, because the traffic at any given church does not warrant a significant type of recordkeeping. Thus the most aggressive requestors receive the most help. By receiving financial assistance from our local churches, Hope’s Front Door centralizes the distribution of assistance in our six-community area. Now the churches can refer assistance requests to us. Serving over 300 client-visits a month, Hope’s Front Door is organized to train interview-volunteers, track all client visits on our computer’s database and maintain an extensive list of other helping agencies to which we refer clients for extended assistance. By establishing visit and annual assistance limits, we provide a reasonably fair distribution of the communities’ resources. Aside from churches, we are also supported by public-spirited businesses, community organizations and individuals.