People's Resource Center is a social service, non-profit organization in DuPage County, Illinois founded in 1975 by community members looking to help their neighbors who were struggling with hunger. Inspired by social justice heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day and Jane Addams, founders Dorothy McIntyre, Father Tom Peyton and a group of volunteers from the Religious Education Community sought to start a local food pantry -- and much more.
The founders wanted to build an organization across DuPage County that would help people overcome the isolating experience of poverty and also build community that crossed socioeconomic divisions. After renting a small house in Wheaton, Illinois, they asked their friends to help by bringing bags of groceries. The PRC doors were opened, and its members shared food with 125 local families that first year.
Today, People's Resource Center (PRC) operates one of the largest food pantry programs in Chicago's western suburbs, providing nearly 26,000 low-income DuPage County residents with basic human services and relationship-based educational programs to help create paths to self-sufficiency.
People's Resource Center has always offered strong leadership for the county's response to emerging needs through the development of innovative programs, including:
- Establishing a countywide food pantry in 1975 to respond to hunger
- Developing the DuPage P.A.D.S. sheltering program (now an independent organization) in 1985 to address large-scale homelessness
- Establishing the DuPage Community Clinic (now operating independently) in 1988 to meet the health needs of uninsured residents, followed by a Dental Clinic (now closed) in 1996 to meet the need for free dental services
- Establishing computer access and training programs in 1997 to teach digital literacy
- Forming comprehensive literacy classes in 1997 to teach basic reading skills, ESL, and offer assistance with GED and citizenship tests
- Creating PRC's Art Program in 1997 to encourage artistic self-expression and provide art therapy programs
- Developing a jobs program in 2006 to provide mentors and training for those searching for a new job or wanting to learn new skills
- Opening a second location in the county's Southeast section to respond to the growing need and changing demographics in DuPage following the 2008 recession
- Purchasing a larger, permanent site in Westmont to provide services to those in Southeast DuPage in 2014. This facility opened in April 2015
During the past decade, poverty has moved from the city of Chicago into its suburbs. In DuPage County, alone, the poverty rate has doubled. As our area has experienced significant demographic shifts, People's Resource Center continues to play a key leadership role by introducing and educating the community members about its new neighbors. People's Resource Center is exemplary among local agencies for its significant contributions toward building multicultural communities in DuPage County.
Miracles Relied Upon: A History of the People's Resource Center was written and published in 2012 by longtime PRC leaders Margaret and Warren Roth. The book chronicles PRC's founding and nearly 40 years of history, and was a reference for some information provided above.