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Friday, December 2, 2016

Our 2016 Holiday Poem

The holiday season

Comes just once a year,

Bringing in family

From far and from near.

So we cook and we clean

‘til we think we may drop,

An the we clean more,

Could it be we can’t stop?

Then right in the middle

Of all we must do,

We stop! And we gather

With friends, old and new.

For today is the day

To pretend it’s all done,

And to sit back and relax

and just have some fun.

This day is the day

We will celebrate you.

It’s our way to say thanks

for all that you do.

So fill up your plate
With a lot of good food.

Then pull up a seat

And let us set the mood.

Some things we will do

You may have done before,

But rest assured there

are a few surprises in store.

We shall start with a speaker

Ans some music sublime

Play a few games

And just have a good time.

And our wish is that by

Time we are through,

you will know we are thankful

for each one of you!

Thank you so much for another wonderful year of service!

Poem by

Sheryl Whisman

DeWitt County RSVP Coordinator

Check our facebook page for more photos of the fun day!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Christmas Baskets - Then and Now

"Dove's Christmas Drive is underway!  We ask your help in making the 1986 Holiday Season a Happy one in homes throughout Decatur and Macon County.  As in the past Dove will be conducting Food and Toy Drive during this Christmas Season..."  November 1986 DoveTales Newsletter

"DOVE will work again this year with the Prince of Peace program from St. John's Lutheran Church to provide Christmas baskets for people that we work with during the year.  If your family, Sunday School class or group would like to provide a basket or donate money for the project, please call..."  December 1972 DoveTales Newsletter

"DOVE is participating with the Decatur-Macon County Opportunities Corporation, DARE and St. John's Northeast Center to provide Christmas baskets to low-income families in Decatur.  If you would like to contribute either food or money, please call the DOVE house, 428-6616.  Someone could use your caring." December 1975 DoveTales Newsletter

"... At this time of the year we turn our thoughts to the needs of our community.  Again this Holiday Season, Dove will provide food, toys and gift to hundreds of low-income homes in Decatur and Macon County.  ... All of us at Dove deeply value your friendship and your continued partnership in our exciting ministry.  Please accept our wishes for a meaningful Christmas Season!"  DoveTales Newsletter, December 1983

"Christmas Corner
There are still plenty of time and ways to get involved with Dove and North East Community Fund’s Christmas Baskets Program.

 Consider donating items or money. We are still in great need of the following: full sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, and toothbrushes, as well as boxes of gallon sized Ziploc bags in order to make the hygiene bags for families receiving baskets.
Are you interested in adopting a family for Christmas? This is such an awesome opportunity for those who choose it. You get to be in touch with the family you’re adopting, to find out who they are and what kinds of things they’re in need of. You get to deliver their Christmas right to them yourself. Each year I look forward to adopting families out, and each year we have at least one or two people or groups who enjoy this option so much, they return and do it again the next year.
We do ask that you give at least the equivalent of what we give in baskets – the food, plus a gift for each child, and hats and gloves and a stocking for each member of the family. Anything more than that is definitely appreciated. Is this something that you, your family, or a group you’re involved with is interested in?
We’re also in need of volunteers the week of baskets. We will move everything to First United Methodist (201 W. North St) on the morning of December 15th and will be there from about 8:30 am to 5:30 p.m. that day, the next, and this year we’re going to have Saturday the 17th for families and students to come volunteer if they’d like. We’ll be filling baskets Monday and Tuesday, the 19th and 20th during those same times.

 We’ll need a lot of help with delivering baskets to people on the morning of Thursday, December 22nd, if that’s something you’d like to try, or if it’s something you’ve done before and have enjoyed in the past.  If you have a truck, please bring it – some of these baskets are large!

If none of these are things that work for you or your schedule, consider attending Making Christmas Bright, a fundraiser we’re partnering with Pizza Hut for on December 6th. If you bring a copy of our flier, or if you show a copy of it on your phone, Dove’s Christmas Baskets will get a portion of each order that day. You don’t even have to go to a specific Pizza Hut. If you give our voucher or online code (DOVE), you can go to any Pizza Hut in the United States and you will be supporting us.

The Pizza Hut at 975 W. Eldorado will also be collecting toys for the kids that night from 5-8. Bring your kids and enjoy a fun night out while helping support kids who are less fortunate.  A very special guest will be in attendance and he’s going to be making his own lists and checking them twice!  (flyer available on website

The next few weeks are going to be a flurry of activity, and I hope to talk to you about how you can get involved and help out. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at 217-428-6616.

Angie Williams
Christmas Baskets Coordinator"
DoveTales Newsletter, November 2016


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Letter from the Executive Director of Dove, Inc.: Coordinating efforts to address unmet needs and social injustices.

Dear Friends,

As I write this the weather is turning cooler, the days are getting shorter, and the leaves are turning and beginning to fall.  A group of high school volunteers are in my office at Homeward Bound moving files into storage. Another group is sanitizing the play area and toys.  A group of skilled craftsmen and women are giving the domestic violence shelter client kitchen, bedrooms, common area and play yard a facelift.  I look around at the good people who make Dove run and find myself deeply humbled by their commitment to our community.

In November and December amidst the hustle and bustle of holidays we’ll continue to band together to distribute Coats for Kids donations to area agencies, Stand Down for Veterans, learn about issues of poverty, hunger, and homelessness at Box City and Hoard No More training.  We’ll be filling baskets for hundreds of area families so that they can share in the air of celebration.

As we celebrate, I ask you please to also turn an eye to local and state politics. Voting is one of the most important ways in which you can give to community efforts.  By choosing state and local policy-makers you are choosing what the future holds for our community.  The “stop-gap” budget expires this December and your vote can help solve the continuing budget crisis.  Be informed when you vote. Visit and entire your street address where you are registered to see the full ballot.  Then take the time to read up on or meet the candidates so that you can make an informed decision at the polls.

We also have 18 House seats and 1 Senate seat in the federal election to decide on. These people will help determine how our federal funding for local housing initiatives goes in the future. Your vote and your voice matter in this election.

If you or your organization’s members would like to learn more about supporting Dove’s mission, please reach out to our Volunteer & Community Relations Director, Barb Blakey.  Dove, Inc. is only as strong as its member organizations, volunteers and advocates.  It is my sincere hope that you will be a part of making our home a community free of human suffering.

Christine Gregory

Friday, October 28, 2016

Making Christmas Bright

It’s hard to believe, and some of my co-workers will want to throttle me for saying this, but there are only 58 days left until Christmas. I know, I know. It’s not even Halloween yet and I keep bringing up Christmas. Yes, I’m one of THOSE people. Ask anyone who knows me at all and they’ll probably say something about what a Christmas crazed person I am (hi, Susie and Charlie!). They’re not wrong. I love basically everything about Christmas. The decorations, the baked goods, shopping for gifts for people, the music, sending out Christmas cards. Yes, I even love cold weather and snow.  I blame my grandma, who loves Christmas about as much as it’s possible to love a holiday.


Of course when I was younger, Christmas was all about the latest toy or book I wanted, if my cousins got more stuff than I did from “Santa,” the various Christmas parties with family and at school. It wasn’t until I started getting a bit older that it became more than a time when I got gifts and we looked at pretty lights.


The last few years whenever someone’s asked me what I want for Christmas, I struggle to give them ideas because the truth is, I don’t want for much of anything. If there’s something I need or want, I usually buy it myself when I can afford it. Nothing feels pressing in that aspect of my life anymore, and I’m beyond grateful for that.


I think working at Dove, Inc., for the last twelve years has made me reevaluate what’s important in life, and recognize the difference between want and need. I’ve grown as a person (again, ask nearly anyone who’s known me since I started at this agency in 2004), but my love of Christmas still remains, albeit in a very different form from my childhood and even early adulthood. Instead of feeling excited about what “Santa” may be bringing me for Christmas, I get excited about how I can help bring Christmas to as many others as possible.


I do this through the Christmas Baskets Program. If you’re not familiar with how the program works, the basics are this: we work with approximately 20 other agencies and groups who refer anywhere from one to fifteen families they work with to receive a food and gift basket. We partner with North East Community Fund for this huge project, and together we do anywhere from 320 to 350 complete Christmas baskets for families in Decatur. We compare our lists against Salvation Army’s, and St. James Church’s and any others we can compare them to, to make sure no one is being “double-served” so that more families who need it can receive assistance. It’s a lengthy process that we usually begin in October and that doesn’t end until every basket has found its home.


For most of my years at Dove, Francie Johnson ran the Christmas Baskets Program through the Community Services Program. As you may know, due to the state budget, that program was cut in 2015, which means that Francie was no longer with our agency, much to our devastation. I worked in domestic violence from 2004 – 2013, then transferred to Community Services from 2013 until I was laid off due to said budget cuts. Thankfully for me there was an opening back in domestic violence and I was able to stay with Dove (because honestly, I never want to go anywhere else, and can’t imagine having to do so). I was asked by Dove’s Leadership Team to handle the Christmas Baskets Program last year, and I agreed immediately because it’s near and dear to my heart.


It’s a lot of work – literally making lists and checking them twice and three times – and fortunately everyone at Dove, as well as countless numbers of volunteers, takes part in helping to make it a success. Whether it’s helping carry donations to and from storage areas, talking to their friends and family who decide to take up a collection of items for the drive or organize a fundraiser, sorting and counting donations, shopping for hats, gloves, and toys, making stockings – everything that anyone does, no matter how small they think their contribution is – makes a difference. Last year we served 335 families (1296 individuals) with Christmas baskets. One hundred and twenty-five volunteers participated, spending nearly 500 hours in one week’s time putting things together for each family.


The generosity of people in Central Illinois continually amazes me. Whether it’s monetary giving to the program, or buying toys, or hats and gloves, or their time; the fact that we can put together a complete Christmas basket for that many families in such a short time period is nothing short of miraculous. And isn’t Christmas the season of miracles?


If you’ve never been a part of this process, I so encourage you to come out this year to the basement of First United Methodist between December 15th and December 22nd and see what we’re doing. As much as I’ve always loved Christmas, I’ve come to realize that being able to actually help so many families is where the true sense of joy and accomplishment comes from. It is giving, not receiving, that makes Christmas bright.



Angela Williams

Administrative Specialist/Christmas Baskets Coordinator

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What is acceptable?

In October, the winds of change blow as summer gives way to fall.  Trees change colors as the browns and oranges of fall replace the lush green of summer.  October also brings the color purple, as the nation remembers victims and survivors during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

For too many years, people made jokes about domestic violence.  They too often laughed at the victim and empowered the abuser by just going along with what he or she did.  Even if they heard or saw violence happening in their neighborhoods they “didn’t want to be involved”.   For far too long it was believed that what happened in the home needed to stay in the home.  Victims and children who lived in homes where violence occurred were told not to talk about it for fear of “what the neighbors would think.”  Many times some of the people who acted in this way were the officials who were supposed to support the victim and stop the violence and hold the perpetrator accountable.  They were supposed to treat the abuse for what it is………..a crime.  A crime against the victim and a crime against the state.  This behavior is unacceptable.

What is acceptable?  If we could imagine utopia, what would it look like?  Obviously, in a perfect world, all of us would live in harmony, each accepting and celebrating the unique differences between people……their religions, lifestyles, and culture.  There would be no violence, including domestic violence.  Anyone who watches TV news or accesses social media knows we are nowhere close to that in today’s society.  This year, with violence in our cities and towns, with hatred spewed daily in our political races, is far from our imagined utopia.  Indeed, with the media and various social media sites immersing us in vitriol and hate daily, it is almost possible to imagine how a victim of domestic violence feels.

But what can we do to change attitudes and to bring about positive changes?  We can take a vow to stand together against domestic violence.  By standing together, we can be sure that victims of domestic violence know that they are believed, that they are validated, and that they are supported.  By standing together, we can be sure that abusers are arrested, prosecuted, and that they understand that their actions are wrong and not acceptable to society.  By standing together, we can support each other as we work to end domestic violence and to ensure that families can live in homes that are safe and secure.  I urge all of you to take a stand against domestic violence, to vow to do something new and different to bring us a little closer to a peaceful world.

Spread kindness and peace instead of vitriol and hate.  Be the change you want to see.


Susie KensilShelby County CoordinatorDomestic Violence Program

Friday, October 7, 2016

25th Annual Coats for Kids

Just the facts!
The 2016 Coats for Kids drive will begin October 12.  We will be collecting good, used coats for families in need through November 30.  And of course, we'll accept new coats for kids!
It's simple, look in your closets for coats you no longer need -- (all sizes accepted, it's a coat drive focusing on kids, but we are happy to help out adults too).  Take them to one of the places listed below and  place in the collection barrel.  We'll take it from there!
Participating Cleaners will make sure the coats are clean and fresh and ready for the clothing rooms to distribute. (All addresses Decatur unless noted otherwise.) 

WAND is and has been the cosponsor for the event all 25 year!  Thanks for that support!
Below is a confirmed participation list as of today:
Participating Cleaners
Classic Cleaner, 2474 N. Main

Corner Cleaning Connections, 1154 E. Prairie Ave.

Peerless Cleaners, 519 N. Monroe

Pride Cleaners and Launderers
  2553 N. Main
     1804 E. Eldorado
        912 W. Eldorado
          2056 Mt. Zion Road

 Waite's Dry Cleaners and Launderers
  1004 S. Main, Decatur
      664 W. Eldorado
         115 Magnolia, Forsyth

Drop off sites will have collection barrels to drop off your coats:

 Archer's Alley, 1331 N. 22 Street
  2990 N. Monroe
      570 N. Fairview
         1595 E. Cantrell Rd
Decatur Public Library, 130 N. Franklin
Decatur Public Transit Building
   and administration building E. Wood and MLK
Decatur Township Offices, 1620 S. Taylorville Road
GT Church, 500 S. 27th Decatur
Jerger Pediatric Dentistry, P.C., 2101 N. Main, Decatur
  Brettwood Plaza
     South Shores Plaza
       Fairview Plaza
          Airport Plaza
Land of Lincoln Credit Union
  2890 N. Oakland
     3130 E. Mound
       4850 E Prosperity Place
Longcreek Township, 2610 Salem School Road
   2340 Mt. Zion Rd.
      350 N. Water
         1355 W. King
            333 E. Pershing Rd
Richland Community College, #1 College Park, Decatur
Soy Capital Bank and Trust
   560 E. Pershing
      455 N. Main
         4825 US Route 36
             1685 S. Franklin
St. Teresa High School, 2710 N. Water Street
Texas Roadhouse, US 51 North
    If you donate your coat at Texas Roadhouse, you'll get a free appetizer

We'll post a list of the participating clothing rooms, after we start delivering the clean coats.
Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

For those of us who work with domestic violence victims, we understand the dynamics that surround this unforgiveable crime. For victims - it is a personal violation to their person that will affect them for the rest of their lives. 
One of the most difficult and frustrating matters is the lack of education that so many have about domestic violence which causes them to re-victimize the victim. Victims are constantly blamed for the abuse and judged by those who have absolutely no understanding of the causes and effects of domestic violence.
How many of you have asked the most unacceptable question of "Why don=t they just leave?"  or voiced the statement "They must like it or they would leave." Sadly, it has nothing to do with either of these!! Instead, one should wonder or ask "What are the barriers that are keeping the victim there?"  and "How can we best assist the victim and let them know this abuse is not their fault and there are options they can choose to help remove them from their dangerous situation?"

Domestic violence is a crime that in not only committed in the United States, but worldwide. It happens every day, every hour, every minute and every second. In fact, every 9 seconds in the U.S., a victim is being assaulted or beaten. Anyone can be the victim or the abuser. It affects all of us - our neighbors, family members, co-workers, friends, and even those sitting in front or beside you in Church each Sunday. It occurs in dating relationships, marriages, with family members, those one has lived with, shared a child with, or even in caretaker situations. Many people blame domestic violence on substance abuse. Although substance abuse can often play a big part and intensify the abuse, it does not cause it. All abuse is caused by one thing - POWER AND CONTROL - and the abuser goes to any degree to use it to get what she or he wants. 

This intolerable crime leaves everlasting scars of pain and fear for the victim, as well as their children. Domestic violence dates back to even the 17th and 18th centuries. Generations are affected by its affliction. Sadly, each day these crimes are being unreported and often swept under the rug or some people still have the mindset that it=s not their business to get involved. 

As we come upon this month of October, recognized nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, let=s make a determined effort to search our own personal minds and hearts and decide what we, as individuals, and as a community, can do to help end this unjustifiable, deplorable crime!! As a couple suggestions - donate to our program by simply going to our website at, volunteer for our program, become a member of our Committee Against Domestic Violence. Pay attention who you vote for and learn who supports the rights of domestic violence victims and whose primary purpose is to hold abusers accountable and protect all victims of domestic violence and their children! 

And lastly, help us fill every pew and plan to attend our annual Candle lighting Ceremony on Thursday, October 13th, 7:00 p.m., at St. James Catholic Church, 742 E. Clay. This is a very powerful event where we mourn for and with those who have suffered and died at the hands of domestic violence, and celebrate the survivors and those who work tirelessly day after day to help put an end to this crime.

Teri Ducy, Domestic Violence Program Director