March saw our staff quite busy with getting all of our volunteers into compliance with the VIRTUS program mandated by the Archdiocese of Chicago. This program requires all volunteers to complete yearly background checks and monthly training sessions to help keep the seniors helped by our Heart to Heart Seniors Ministry safe. Thank you to all those who spent valuable time and energy achieving this mandated compliance!
We also plan to offer interesting and educational programming to our parishioners and neighbors later this spring and into the summer months. One such presentation will focus on the origins and focus of palliative care and hospice. Sheets listing all of the hospices in Chicagoland and their contact information will be distributed to all attendees. For further information, please call me at 773.973.5464, the Ministry Center telephone number. Calls not answered immediately will be returned promptly.
Heartfelt thanks to all who so generously offer their support to this important ministry.
~ Jane Callahan-Moore, Director of Parish Social Services/Heart to Heart Seniors Ministry
"Siyahamba, ekukanyen' kwenkos', Siyahamba, ekukanyen' kwenkos' We are MARCHing in the light of God, we are MARCHing in the light of God" ~ South African folk song
Friends from Swedish Hospital called in March -- medical supplies for a field clinic in Ukraine were desperately needed. Could the Lending Closet help? Serving internally displaced refugees, the clinic needed basic items. The Lending Closet sent 12 boxes of donated first aid supplies (gauze bandages, alcohol wipes, aspirin, etc...), delivered directly by a Chicago delegation to the Ukrainian clinic that week.
Closer to home, a grateful mother stopped by to donate durable medical equipment, including "the Hog", pictured above. A folding Hemi Walker, the Hog, supported her 26 year-old son during his recovery from a motorcycle accident. The mother said she'd spent hours in prayer at her son's bedside. The Hog, no doubt, has been amply blessed for whoever needs it next!
The generosity of St. Gertrude parishioners and donors from throughout Chicago allow us to meet needs locally, and sometimes farther afield. Thank you for your support!
~ Laurie Hasbrook, Medical Equipment Lending Closet Manager
In addition to responding to local needs, the Lending Closet collaborated in February with Margaret Okodua, a nurse from Rogers Park. Margaret arranges shipments of donated medical equipment and supplies to Home of Mercy & Peace in Uromi, Nigeria. A refuge for formerly homeless, abandoned, or isolated seniors, HMP is a pastoral initiative of the Catholic Bishop and Diocese of Uromi, managed by the Sisters of St. Louis.
Thanks to your generosity and donations from our local community, Heart-to-Heart has an abundance of certain items. On a frigid February night, a group of stalwart St. Gert's volunteers loaded two cars full of surplus walkers, commodes, and crutches for Home of Mercy and Peace.
A heartfelt thank you to those volunteers, and to all who make such generosity beyond our borders possible.
~ Laurie Hasbrook
In 1986, social worker Mary Ann Collins and a few other women from St Gertrude parish realized that their older Edgewater neighbors needed broader community assistance with grocery shopping and getting to/from medical appointments and procedures. Thus, the Heart to Heart Seniors Ministry was born.
The mission of Heart to Heart is to provide screened and caring volunteers who assist older adults throughout the Edgewater/Rogers Park neighborhoods so that they can remain independent and connected to our community for as long as possible. This contact with our staff and volunteers also reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness which so many of our seniors are experiencing. Additional volunteer services can now include visiting seniors, making well-being telephone calls to them, and sending greeting cards celebrating important events in their lives. When needed, we also make referrals to supportive services and/or public agencies on behalf of seniors who need them.
All Heart to Heart staff members and volunteers have completed VIRTUS training, a program created by the Catholic Church and monitored by staff of our Archdiocese to protect vulnerable populations such as Seniors. Additionally, our volunteers and staff must also complete ongoing monthly VIRTUS trainings to maintain compliance with this program. Each volunteer and staff member has received all COVID-19 vaccinations currently available.
Our volunteers thus enrich their own lives by sharing their abilities and talents to make a real difference in the lives of the seniors they serve.
Heart to Heart is a ministry grown at St. Gertrude that serves some of our most vulnerable residents in Edgewater—our senior citizens. Staffed by director Jane Callahan-Moore and Laurie Hasbrook, the Lending Closet Manager, the outreach program’s mission is to help seniors who need minimal assistance to enable them to remain independent in their home. Heart to Heart completes assessments and connects our seniors in need to community services and agencies that can assist them with financial and home care functions.
In addition, the Heart to Heart program offer a limited range of services, however, this is limited due to COVID. With the help of these dedicated staff and volunteers, we've been able to help hundreds of older persons live quality, dignified, independent lives in their own home.
Equally as important as tending to basic needs is the human connection that Heart to Heart provides - especially those isolated during the pandemic. Social services at St. Gertrude is about showing love and care through a listening ear, a smile, a kind word, or a helping hand. It’s about putting faith into action by loving our neighbors and tending to their needs.
If you are a senior in need or care for an older person that may need Heart to Heart’s services, please call the Heart to Heart office at 773.973.5464 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am-2:30 pm. Call 773.973.5464 to speak to the Heart-to-Heart team during regular office hours, OR to leave a voicemail message when the office is closed. Voicemail is checked regularly.
Additionally, Heart to Heart offers a medical lending closet. Items available include walkers, with and without wheels, crutches, wheelchairs, and portable commodes. Please call please call the Rectory at 773.764.3621 for a list of available items or to schedule an appointment to pick-up or drop-off items.
Please consider supporting our work by volunteering or making a donation to Heart to Heart in church, at the Rectory, or online here: https://www.givecentral.org/location/8/event/606. Donations made with a check should be made payable to St. Gertrude Parish with Heart to Heart written in the memo line.
Thank you for supporting our work!
Heart to Heart Office
6214 N. Glenwood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
Our Heart to Heart staff works on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am-2:30 pm.
Call 773.973.5464 to speak to the Heart-to-Heart team during regular office hours, OR to leave a voicemail message when the office is closed. Voicemail is checked regularly.
Please call to schedule an appointment with the staff, particularly if you need to get or drop off durable medical equipment from the Lending Closet. Do not drop off these items at the Rectory.
Requests for Hospital Visits
If you (or a family member) is hospitalized and want a visit by a church staff member, please call the Heart to Heart office. Because of government regulations, hospital, nursing homes, etc. cannot contact us with this information. Heart to Heart staff will then notify the Rectory.
Did you know that there is a special and valued ministry that needs participants, particularly our homebound and physically-restricted parishioners? There are no meetings or dues required, yet the members have a valued connection to parish life by enriching others and themselves through their own dedicated, daily prayer time!
It works like this—we provide our committed participants with a prayer book and a monthly guide sheet reflecting some of the prayer requests taken from St. Gertrude Church’s Prayer Wall. Our prayer angels become an unseen blessing for so many! We welcome anyone’s interest in this caring ministry. Call Jane
Callahan-Moore at 773.973.5464 for more information.