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. âGottlieb has conducted food drives for us every year for more than a decade and their partnership is critical to our clients,â said Jerry Hills, Proviso Food Pantry coordinator, River Forest United Methodist Church. She says donations are sorely needed. âLast week, we provided 1,025 people, or 268 families, with food supplies. This number is almost double compared to that of last year.â 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. âWe welcome all donations, and any manpower help we can receive, to help fight hunger right here where we live,â she said.
Chaplain Jorge Maldonado offered a blessing of the stacks of items, including pasta, soup, cereal and hot beverages. âThis 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,â Chaplain Maldonado said. âMany 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.â 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.