Helping the Helpers: Leyden Family Service and Mental Health Center faces tough financial times
Leyden Family Service and Mental Health Center was established in 1952 and has grown over the years to accommodate the needs of people with mental illness and substance abuse problems, as well as offering help to seniors in the Leyden community.
The Daily Herald asked the organization's CEO, Bruce Sewick, to describe the nonprofit and how its ability to deliver services has been affected by the pandemic.
Q. Who does your agency serve, and how do you serve them?
A. We are a not-for-profit that provides mental health and substance abuse treatment. Our mental health programs are in Franklin Park and our inpatient substance abuse program (the SHARE Program) is in Hoffman Estates.
These programs serve residents from all over Illinois. We also provide benefits, a food pantry and energy assistance to senior citizens in the Leyden Township community.
Q. From where do the majority of your donations come?
A. Most of our donations happen at our annual fundraiser. This year, it is planned for Oct. 2 at Allegra Banquets in Schiller Park. We hope that we are able to have it this year, given the COVID crisis. The money raised goes directly to the programs we provide.
Q. About how many people per year does your agency help?
A. Almost 10,000 a year, including the food pantry.
Q. How has the COVID-19 crisis affected your organization and its ability to help those in need?
A. We have had to convert our face-to-face therapy and psychiatrist appointments to telehealth on the mental health side.
We have had to redesign our inpatient substance abuse program according to the CDC's COVID-19 guidelines for the safety of clients and staff. At this point, we do not allow visitors or outside support groups into the building.
We take daily temperature readings and enforce 6-foot social distancing throughout the building. We carefully screen potential clients on the phone intake calls.
The financial burden of all we have had to implement, the cost of personal protective equipment and reduced revenue -- from the impact these changes have resulted in -- is quite substantial.
Q. How can readers help?
A. We would appreciate any financial contributions; details on how to contribute are on our website, www.leydenfamilyservice.org/donate.
We also need supplies that are in short supply -- toilet paper, hand sanitizers, antiseptic wipes, face masks and gloves.
To donate supplies, you can call Bruce Sewick at (847) 451-5077 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. If someone is in need of your organization's help, what should they do?
A. Call (847) 451-0330 to schedule a virtual intake appointment.
Q. Anything else you'd like readers to know about your organization?
A. Almost 65 percent of the population we serve is on Medicaid. This population does not have as many choices as those on private insurance.
About this series
"Help the Helpers" is a series of short stories on how you can support suburban social service agencies that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Know of a nonprofit or agency we should feature? Email email@example.com.