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, 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 to the lonely, poor, or those in need. Social Services at St. Gertrude is about showing love and care to them 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. Available items include standard walkers, rollators, crutches, wheelchairs, shower chairs, tub transfer benches, and portable commodes. Please call Heart-to-Heart at 773.973.5464 to schedule an appointment, or to drop off donations.
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.
April Showers bring… lifted spirits!
Miss B’s UIC-Hospital physical therapist referred her to the Heart to Heart Lending Closet for a rollator. Delighted to get a sturdy walker with a seat, Miss B patiently waited in the Ministry Center parlor for her PACE bus ride home to the west side. As we watched the rain, she mentioned her years working at Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Elderly, including when Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s mother Maria lived there. “I got the call when the Cardinal’s mother arrived – the staff wanted me to be there to welcome and care for her!” Miss B reminisced.
Her welcoming demeanor was confirmed not 10 minutes later, when Jacqueline rang the bell, desperate to borrow a Lending Closet wheelchair. Jacqueline’s teen son, a varsity CPS high school basketball player in the Chatham neighborhood, had been injured in a game. He needed a wheelchair to attend school for the next six weeks and CPS suggested the Lending Closet. Miss B assured the worried mom that her son would do just fine and promised prayers of healing.
As the rains softened and Miss B and Jacqueline each headed home, I imagined Maria Bernardin and her son Joseph smiling down on such chance meetings that lift all our spirits!
~ Laurie Hasbrook, Lending Closet Manager
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.
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
January Lending Closet Report: A resident of Uptown started the new year with a sturdy wheelchair from the Lending Closet, enabling her to continue chemotherapy treatment at Northwestern Hospital after her wheelchair broke down. Grateful for the assistance, she donated boxes of incontinence supplies to the Lending Closet. Like many of our recipients, she was intent on contributing what she could to help others. This is a frequent occurrence at the Lending Closet -- individuals or families assisted by the Lending Closet often contact us again, eager to donate what they can to keep the circle of giving strong!
In the first month of the year, we fielded information, request and donation calls from over 16 zip codes. An occupational therapist, physical therapist, and social worker respectively, who see homebound patients throughout Chicago, made repeat visits to the Lending Closet, thrilled to discover a local resource that doesn't require lots of paperwork. They have spread the word to colleagues that the Lending Closet is ready to help provide durable medical equipment to patients in need. ~ Laurie Hasbrook
Other Activities: Heart to Heart staff continued the effort to get all of our volunteers VIRTUS-trained and compliant before the end of March. (The VIRTUS training program, created and monitored by the Archdiocese of Chicago, focuses on teaching staff and Volunteers how to protect vulnerable adults from all forms of abuse.)
Additionally, staff has begun preparations to develop an Emergency Action Plan for our Parish which will detail how to respond to various situations such as medical and mental health emergencies, etc., which occur during our Masses or on-campus meetings.
As other exciting programming is also being finalized, please offer up your prayers that God's grace will flow over our efforts during this and next month. Thank you so much for your continuing support of this vital ministry! ~ Jane Callahan-Moore
In October, we assisted people from 14 Chicagoland zip codes who were recovering from surgery, families caring for family members with mobility issues and in need of extensive assistance with daily tasks (including bathing, toileting, and eating), and home health outreach workers (including OTs, PTs, social workers, and RNs).
We have provided a local homeless encampment with mobility equipment for residents in need, a nursing home resident with personal care products she couldn't afford, Community Health (the largest volunteer-based health clinic in the nation) with nebulizers, CPAP breathing machines and masks, and a Cook County care coordinator with supplies for her outreach work. The vast majority of people we serve have limited resources and are often in need of equipment or supplies for extended periods of time.
Donations came in from people who live in eight different zip codes, most of whom have recently lost family members or close friends. Over and over again, we are told how much it means to surviving family members/friends that durable medical equipment and supplies that helped their loved ones can now be used by someone else in need. The generosity of people grieving the loss of a friend or family member is tremendously moving and greatly appreciated.
Laurie Hasbrook, Lending Closet manager, can be reached by telephone at 773.973.5464 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am-2:30 pm or by appointment, while Jane Callahan-Moore answers calls Monday-Friday from 9:00 am-5:00 pm on her cell phone (773.595.9992).
September events sponsored by our staff included the second of three workshops creating notarized legal documents such as powers of attorney, wills, etc., for our Edgewater neighbors. Pro bono attorneys from the Center for Elder and Disability Law completed these vital documents onsite in our Ministry Center. Our dedicated volunteers continued to make weekly telephone calls to our homebound seniors and assisted them with grocery shopping and getting them to and from medical appointments. We are so grateful to have them on our team!
An integral part of our Heart to Heart Seniors Ministry is our free Lending Closet serving all of Chicagoland and dispensing loans and occasional gifts of durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, rollator walkers, knee scooters, tub transfer benches, shower stools, commodes, canes, and incontinence supplies. This month, we dispensed 37 pieces of this equipment to 23 individuals in14 zip codes and accepted 16 donations from families who no longer needed these loans for their loved ones. We also helped to connect a family wishing to donate a hospital bed to a family greatly in need of one.
A Blue Cross/Blue Shield van brought one woman, aged 83, to our door to pick up some medical equipment. And another woman drove up to us from 91st Street to obtain some equipment for her father’s homecoming from Weiss Hospital after treatment for a stroke. In a note we received from her, she had this to say: “Thank you soooo much for your kindness and generosity…Everything worked out perfectly and I can’t wait for my father’s return home. On behalf of my father, myself and my family, we want to say once again, a super thank you to you, Heart to Heart, and St. Gertrude for your donation”.
Laurie Hasbrook can be reached by telephone at 773.973.5464 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am-2:30 pm or by appointment, while Jane Callahan-Moore answers calls Monday-Friday from 9:00 am-5:00 pm on her cell phone (773.595.9992).
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.