Gottlieb Memorial Hospital employees and chaplains held a ceremony to bless food donations for area residents in need this holiday season.
Hospital employees and Gottlieb Center for Fitness members contributed bags and boxes stuffed with groceries to benefit the Proviso Food Pantry, which has been feeding needy families for more than 20 years. Sponsored by the River Forest United Methodist Church, the food is distributed every Saturday from 8-10 a.m. at the Cosmopolitan United Church, 1112 N. Ninth Ave., Melrose Park.
“Gottlieb has conducted food drives for us every year for more than a decade and their partnership is critical to our clients,” said Jerry Hills, Proviso Food Pantry coordinator, River Forest United Methodist Church. She says donations are sorely needed. “Last week, we provided 1,025 people, or 268 families, with food supplies. This number is almost double compared to that of last year.”
Hills projects the number of people in need will increase sharply this Saturday because the pantry will be closed Dec. 25 in observance of Christmas. “We welcome all donations, and any manpower help we can receive, to help fight hunger right here where we live,” she said.
Chaplain Jorge Maldonado offered a blessing of the stacks of items, including pasta, soup, cereal and hot beverages.
“This food will help quiet the hunger of our neighbors in need, and this food will also very loudly demonstrate the beautiful, caring spirit of those at Gottlieb,” Chaplain Maldonado said. “Many went to great lengths to brave the winter weather to carry in groceries and many also donated their own money to help others less fortunate.”
After the blessing, staff members loaded the dozens of bags and boxes into waiting Gottlieb vans, which are normally used to transport residents to and from their homes to the hospital, and delivered the groceries to the Proviso Food Pantry.
"Gottlieb is dedicated to improving the health of those in our community, whether it is when residents come through our hospital doors, or through outreach programs such as this," said Trisha Cassidy, president, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System.
"For a half-century, the community has relied upon Gottlieb Memorial Hospital for health care and education. I am particularly proud of our employees and fitness center members and their rich history of continuing to extend the care without borders and boundaries," Cassidy said.
Those interested in helping the Proviso Food Pantry may contact Jean Dillner, USDA coordinator, Proviso Food Pantry, at (708) 344-8405.
Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 569-licensed-bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 264-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.