Caring in tumultuous times

When we began planning our first Community of Caring section for The Landmark several months ago, we were at the start of the fiscal crisis here in Illinois. We recognized that the political impasse gripping Springfield could have an impact on some of the vital social service agencies we planned to feature here. 

But we could not have imagined that the funding malfeasance being committed by our political leaders would continue until late October, that agencies would be teetering with cash reserves spent down and pink slips being issued.

That’s the politically pathetic backdrop to this first edition of Community of Caring. The goal here is to tell the stories of local people whose lives are being saved, stabilized, refocused by the intense good work of social service groups based in the Landmark communities. 

In good times we take for granted that our social service safety net is intact, that our neighbors, our children, our parents will have access to those services when, inevitably, one or many services are needed. But in perilous times such as these there is no room for assumptions. Some agencies may not survive this invented crisis – yes, Illinois is in financial distress; no, social services do not need to be victimized by that distress. 

We’ve published Community of Caring for years in our newspapers in Oak Park, Forest Park and River Forest. Now we bring it to Landmark. 

What often hits home is how frequently a reader will see a person they know, a family they know who is benefitting from a service. We are writing about real people in real need. At some moment we will each need help. We hope these agencies will survive our political folly and be there to provide that help.

Dan Haley



This year we feature the following agencies and groups


• PeopleCare: Making sure the elderly get the care they need


• Community Support Services: Where art starts for all


• Brookfield Zoo: Falling for giraffes


• SEASPAR: Meet the mighty EAGLES


• Cantata Adult Life Services: Choosing independence 


• BEDS Plus: Happy to be home


About our contributor:

Deb Quantock McCarey is an Illinois Press Association (IPA) award-winning freelance writer who has worked with Wednesday Journal Inc. since 1995, writing features and special sections for all its publications.  An avid urban gardener and growing naturalist, she is also a local "green" advocate and community volunteer.  As a WJ gardening blogger, Deb is also the host of Deb's Big Backyard, which runs on and airs on Oak Park public cable, Channel 6.