Members of the Daily Herald's Leadership Team for DuPage County spent their Easter Sunday evening helping out at a Public Action to Deliver Shelter site in Naperville.
The team members, all of them high-school students, set up beds for the homeless people who would spend the night at the shelter and prepared three meals' worth of food.
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"You can donate money," Glenbard West High School senior Meg Maloney said. "And that can make a difference. But actually physically helping people in your own community -- that seems to be more powerful."
The students, who were named to the team because of the commitment they've shown to community service, helped set up the beds for the homeless people who would spend the night at the shelter. They also helped prepare three meals' worth of food for the shelter's residents.
Austin Hansen, a senior at Naperville North High School, said the group decided to volunteer together shortly after meeting for the first time.
"We all liked each other so much and decided we should do something to help," he said.
Preparing the meals and sleeping area for the night is an exercise in "controlled chaos," regular PADS volunteer Susanne Davis said. The students started working at about 5:30 p.m., splitting up into two groups -- one to prepare food, the other to set up beds.
Dinner would be served at about 7 p.m., the students were told. They would help serve the meal, then clean up afterward.
Glenbard North High School senior Sienna Crosby, who had volunteered at homeless shelters before through her church, said it's a uniquely rewarding way to give back to the community.
"You're helping people right in your own backyard," she said. "And when you start talking and getting to know the people, you hear some incredible stories."
Carol Simler, executive director of DuPage PADS, said she was thrilled to hear that the Leadership Team students wanted to help out at the shelter.
"We're just so impressed with these young leaders who have already positively impacted their local community with a strong sense of philanthropy," she said.
• Daily Herald staff writer Robert Sanchez contributed to this article.