To every thing there is a season, and a time to

every purpose under the heaven:

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Autumn has always been my favorite of the seasons. The season of my birth, the harvest, holidays with family to look forward to, and the majesty of the trees turning colors as vibrant as the Indian Summer sunshine. In God’s plan we know that indeed there is a season for all things and every purpose. Like the seasons, our individual circumstances will change with time. But one thing we know as well; God’s love for us will never change. He is the “Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end” and will always be there guiding us.

My friends, you have been with me faithfully supporting this ministry since I joined COOL in the Spring of 2009. But like the seasons, my circumstances have changed and I now look forward to  retirement in my home town of Cincinnati, Ohio beginning October 1st. A job transfer for my husband, aging parents, and new grandchildren are all there waiting for me as I wind down my last few weeks with COOL Ministries.

God has brought COOL a long way in these past eight years! Surely the biggest change was the   relocation to Glen Flora Ave. But we have also seen technology advance quickly giving us a new website, a new logo, a new Facebook page, internet based phones, signature pads, laptops and gadgets that make our lives so much easier making old technology like fax machines all but obsolete.

COOL has added new equipment, two trucks, a minivan, a walk-in refrigerator, and now we even have a snow blower! COOL Family Housing has grown in the best possible way! Once heavily    reliant on government funding, the program is now supported entirely without government aid! While other Transitional Housing Programs were closing their homes and reducing their available space for the homeless, our program has expanded and now consists of 10 single family housing units for  struggling families with children who find themselves homeless with no place to turn.

Our food pantries have nearly tripled the number of individuals receiving food. In 2008 COOL served food to 28,497 individuals. In 2016, COOL served 61,354! And with new food sources and help from partners like the Northern Illinois Food Bank, visitors to COOL receive more food of higher quality than ever before!

Along with new staff, new programs were also added. COOL now assists food stamp eligible Veterans with toiletry food boxes once per month helping them to get soaps, paper goods, and   cleaning supplies that they cannot afford to purchase using food stamps.

Our pantries also offer families Holiday Meal Boxes at Thanksgiving and Christmas with all the goodies needed to make a wonderful holiday meal including a frozen turkey! Last year COOL provided more than 1,000 Holiday Meal Boxes to needy families.

Indeed God shows us his great love for the hungry and homeless in Lake County every day as we do HIS work at COOL.  I am so thankful for COOL Ministries, for the friends and  supporters and all of the wonderful people that make this organization so very special.  As I say goodbye to COOL, I go in peace knowing that although my season at COOL has ended, God will always be with this ministry.

Thank you all and may God bless you always!

Diane Thackston

Executive Director 


Serving Lake and
McHenry Counties

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COOL Central Offices
800 W. Glen Flora Ave.
Waukegan IL 60085
Phone: 847.662.1340
Fax: 847-662-1255

Pantry East Waukegan
800 W. Glen Flora Avenue
Waukegan IL 60085

10:00 AM-2:00 PM
One Saturday per month 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
call 847.662.1230 for details
You must arrive 15 minutes prior to closing to receive food.


Pantry West Ingleside
25519 W. Highway 134
Ingleside IL 60041

Mondays: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Wednesdays: 10:00 AM-2:00 PM
One Saturday per month 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
call 847.270.0411 for details
You must arrive 15 minutes prior to closing to receive food


Family Housing Program
800 W. Glen Flora Avenue
Waukegan IL 60085
call 847.662-1340


Front Door Food Pantry East


Pantry West Sign in Ingleside



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Once Homeless-Now HomeOWNER

Click the House and read about our recent Housing Program Family.. They were Homeless but are now Home OWNERS!!