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MATTOON -- The homeless shelter and community kitchen organization that has long been known as Mattoon Area PADS is preparing to change its name to The Haven.

Executive Director Michael Stopka said the nonprofit organization will start the name change by switching to The Haven on its website, Facebook page and other promotional materials. Stopka said The Haven will then be part of the signage for the organization's new homeless shelter and community kitchen that is slated to open this fall at 1812 Western Ave.

"We are slowly unveiling the name and transitioning to the name before we move to the new facility," Stopka said. The Haven name will better represent the new building and the services that it will offer for the community, he said.

Suzi Coffman, vice president of the PADS board, said the new name reflects that the nonprofit organization has expanded its services since it opened in 2003 at 2017 Broadway Ave. She said PADS initially just provided a shelter and meals for those who are homeless, but now offers a community kitchen that is open to any community members in need.

"I think (The Haven) really tells it all. I think it's a really good choice," Coffman said. "We have evolved quite a lot and we want people to know that."

PADS stands for Public Action to Deliver Shelter. Stopka said the founders of Mattoon Area PADS chose this name, in part, because PADS was a familiar name used by homeless shelters in other communities. However, Stopka said the Mattoon organization has never been associated with any other PADS locations. He said the new name will help make this distinction clear.

Construction is progressing on the new Haven homeless shelter and community kitchen building, on land donated by the Adolf Kull family. The building will offer space for day programs for overnight guests, as well as the shelter's first ever dedicated bedrooms for families.

Stopka said construction crews are completing work on the exterior of the building and have started painting the interior. He said they hope to open the new facility sometime this fall.

"I thank the community for their patience and understanding," Stopka said.

A trivia night event on Aug. 18 at the Salvation Army, 1300 Richmond Ave., is set to help raise money for The Haven. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the games will begin at 7 p.m. Entry is $10 for preregistration and $15 for non-registration. Eight person teams can be registered by calling 217-234-7237 or emailing

Fundraising memorial bricks for the front walkway of the new building area available for $100 each. In addition, Coffman said volunteers are organizing an housewarming shower for the new shelter and community kitchen on Aug. 25 at Lytle Park. She said the shower will help with gathering new sheets, towels and other supplies for the facility.

Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @RobStroud


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