joyce 031020Park Forest — In a letter sent earlier today, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) called on the governor to move Kankakee and Grundy Counties into another region in his COVID-19 reopening plan.

“Kankakee and Grundy Counties are largely rural, with very few large towns and much smaller cities,” Joyce said. “Not many people live in Kankakee and commute to Chicago. They don’t need to wait until Chicago and Cook County’s COVID-19 numbers go down before reopening.”

Joyce’s letter emphasized that Grundy County has a population of approximately 50,000 and that residents of both counties lead more similar lives to the more rural counties around them than to Cook and the collar counties.

“I also represent suburban Cook County, and I understand why those communities are in the same region as Chicago. They’re in the same county,” Joyce said. “For Kankakee and Grundy Counties, it just doesn’t make sense.”

Read more: Joyce calls on governor to redefine reopening regions

Category: News

uwkic logo footer2PARK FOREST — To show appreciation to health-care workers and support local businesses at the same time, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) and United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties are announcing Project Full Circle, which will provide health-care workers with gift certificates to local restaurants.

Each donation of $10 provides a $10 gift card from a local restaurant to feed one frontline hero.

“Many of these selfless folks are working very irregular hours in order to keep us all safe,” Joyce said. “The least we can do is make sure they have access to hot meals when they get a chance to rest.”

Gift cards will be purchased from local restaurants that are members of the Kankakee Chamber of Commerce and given to health-care workers at Riverside Healthcare, AMITA St. Mary's Hospital, Shapiro Developmental Center and the Kankakee Health Department. 

“While COVID-19 brings new and greater challenges for many of us, our community has an opportunity to show unity, solidarity and humanity,” United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois counties Executive Director Kerstin Rust said. “Through small acts of generosity, we can support health-care workers who put themselves in high-risk situations to keep our community healthy. They take care of us. Now, let us take care of them.”

To donate please visit:

Category: People of the 40th

hand sanitizerPARK FOREST – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many companies are using their manufacturing capabilities to make disinfectant products to distribute to frontline heroes. A local example is Essations Inc., a hair and skin care product company located in Park Forest  that turned its production lines to hand sanitizer.

However, Essations Inc. found itself with a dwindling supply of alcohol  – the most important ingredient in hand sanitizer. Stephanie Luster, the company’s president and director of Education, contacted State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) for help. Sen. Joyce quickly reached out to multiple state agencies, including the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

“Stephanie Luster and Essations are taking exactly the initiative we need right now,” Joyce said. “I was eager to help her small business continue operations and bring much needed hand sanitizer to the members of our community.”

Read more: Joyce helps local business bring hand sanitizer to the community

Category: News

localSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is encouraging restaurants, hotels and other small businesses across the state to take advantage of two new emergency assistance programs.

“We need our small businesses to persevere, because they are so important to our local economies,” Joyce said. “These loan programs should help them weather this storm.”

To provide assistance to struggling small business owners, Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, a $60 million program that will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses outside of Chicago. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Loan recipients will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at 3% interest for the remainder of a five-year loan term.

Pritzker also announced the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. The program offers $14 million in grants to restaurants, bars, hotels and other hospitality businesses to help them make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis. It will provide up to $25,000 to eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 for eligible hotels.

Read more: Senator Joyce invites small business owners to apply for new loan, grant programs

Category: Press Releases

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