Hesed House/Public Action to Deliver Shelter

The land will never lack for needy persons; that is why I command you: “Open your hand freely to your poor and to your needy kind in your land.”

Deuteronomy 15:11

“Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.”

P.A.D.S is the acronym for Public Action to Deliver Shelter, and in Aurora, their campus is known as Hesed House.

Hesed House is located at 659, S. River St, Aurora, Illinois. It is the second-largest homeless shelter in the State of Illinois, and the largest shelter outside the city of Chicago. The Hesed House campus hosts a family shelter, a women’s shelter, and a men’s shelter.

Hesed House is a national model for ending homelessness – one person, one family at a time. Their mission is “to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and give people the chance to hope again”.

Hesed House relies on more than 7500+  area churches, businesses, and service organizations to support their work through volunteers, food, and financial donations. This allows Hesed House to assist more than 1000+ individuals and families who experience homelessness every year.


To learn more about the invaluable mission and services offered at PADS/Hesed House, visit www.hesedhouse.org

Or view this informational video which provides an overview of the important work Hesed House does to help end homelessness and its reliance on volunteers to meet its goals.

What we do

Our ministry is rooted in missionary discipleship. Fueled by our faith and transformed by a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, we share in His mission to bring hope, hospitality, and encouragement to those living on the margins and weighed down by poverty.

To this end, Our Lady of Mercy PADS/Hesed House Ministry partners with Hesed House in Aurora to provide the following meals, supplies, volunteers, and unconditional hospitality to their guests:

  1. Prepare, cook, and serve dinner to about 235 guests in both their family shelter and adult shelter, on the first Tuesday of each month;
  2. Prepare, cook and deliver breakfast on the first Wednesday of each month (comprising 144 breakfast sandwiches, yogurt, orange juice, and coffee).
  3. Pack and deliver 100 bagged lunches for use on the first Wednesday of each month (each bagged lunch contains a deli sandwich, granola bar, fruit, and bag of cookies & chips)

How you can help

If you wish to participate in this important mission of mercy, there are 3 ways to help:

  1. Volunteer – give the gift of your time, energy, and grace. This ministry is supported by selfless and caring volunteers who live out their faith by committing their time, energy, and resources to feed the hungry.
  2. Donate items listed on the PAD/Hesed House board, displayed in the Atrium (Door B Entrance). All donations must be dropped off at the weekend Masses before the first Tuesday of each month. To learn more, please refer to the FAQS on PADS/Hesed House Board below.
  3. Support with a monetary donation. Funds are needed to make up for any shortfall in ingredients for food preparation or supplies. Donations can be made via the Online Giving Portal (please specify the donation is for Hesed House), or make checks payable to Our Lady of Mercy Church and write on the memo “Hesed House-PADS”.

To volunteer, or for more information, please email Maybird D’Silva at maydsilva@aol.com

FAQs on the PADS/Hesed House Board

**We ask for your thoughtful cooperation in dropping-off donations promptly on the drop-off date/time stipulated on the tear-off stub. We also ask that you conform to the items specified on the board – please avoid substitutions or variations, as they alter carefully calibrated menu plans and cooking measurements. GOD BLESS YOU FOR YOUR KINDNESS.

1. What is the PADS/Hesed House Board?

The PADS Board is an appeal board that contains a “wish list” of items, ingredients, condiments, and supplies needed to prepare meals to be served at Hesed House on the first Tuesday of each month.

2. Where do I find the PADS/Hesed House Board?

The PADS Board is displayed at the church Atrium (Door B Entrance).

3. Why display the PADS/Hesed House Board?

The board is a call for help/donations from all people of faith, to assist us in our mission of mercy, to feed the hungry. Our ministry relies on the goodwill and generosity of our community, believing that we are all united in the mystical Body of Christ, and called to bring His light, hope, mercy and grace, to the last, the least and the lost.

4. How to interact with the PADS/Hesed House Board?

You will see a list of items with the quantities requested.  Below each item is a column titled “name”, and another column titled “tear-off reminder”. If you are willing to donate one/some of the needed items, write your name below the item and tear off the corresponding reminder tab. This is your commitment to drop off the specific items and quantities you have selected at the designated drop-off date.

5. When is the drop-off date/time for donated items?

All donated items must be dropped off in the PADS/Hesed House Drop-off bins (placed by the board) before all weekend Masses preceding the first Tuesday of each month.

Roles, Responsibilities & Key Volunteers

Click here to view it in .pdf format.  If viewing on your mobile phone, please switch to landscape to see all the columns.

Role Responsibilities Key Volunteer(s)
Coordinator Oversees ministry; acts as the liaison between PADS/Hesed House staff and OLM volunteers – communicates guidelines, updates & expectations. Ensures efficiency of all teams – adequate volunteers, assignment of tasks, clear and timely communications. Email reminders are sent in advance of the first Tuesday to all volunteers to ascertain who will attend. Ensures there are adequate supplies and ingredients – shops for any shortfall or deficits. Promotes Ministry, conveys information, updates, blurbs, announcements, and opportunities for involvement to new volunteers. Maybird D’Silva
Menu/Meal Planning Plans menu/meal each month after thoughtful consideration of season, temperature, traditional holidays, etc. Will provide specific details on ingredients, items, numbers, and quantities needed. Will liaise with the PADS Board team to properly reflect these tabulations. Supervises cooking on first Tuesdays. Linda Eickhoff
Marty Kadziela
PADS Board Plan, layout, design, execute and display PADS Board after meticulous consideration of all items/quantities needed to be solicited and properly reflected. Works closely with Menu/Meal Planning lead. Board needs to be up on display 2 weekends before the drop-off weekend. Margaret & Steve Dodd
PADS Drop Off Cart/Cooler Collect, manage, secure & organize all donated/dropped off items (before all weekend Masses prior to the first Tuesday of the month). Phyllis Anderson, Amy Keppler, Joy Austria, Gloria Mitchell
Inventory Taking Take inventory of all dropped-off items in the PLC when the 5:30PM Mass begins at the designated “drop-off weekend” to determine quantities, and report any shortfall/deficit to the Coordinator so they may be purchased prior to the Tuesday meal preparation. Amy Keppler
Bagged Lunch Prep Collects assemble and bags 100 sack lunches for delivery to Hesed House. Lunch bags must be tagged with information on the type of deli meat, and the date and prepared by OLM Catholic Church. *Can be done in conjunction with the dinner preparation. Betsy Utterback
OLM Kitchen Dinner Prep


Volunteers help prepare, cook, package, clean-up and organize meals for approximately 200-250 guests at PADS shelter on the first Tuesdays from 10AM to 4PM.

Volunteers switch at 3 hour intervals (2 shifts of 3 hours each).

Limit of 8 volunteers per shift.

1st shift: Marty Kadziela, Keith Baur, Jeanne Daill, Rose Rolando, Margaret Dodd, Corey Waldinger, Mark Miller, Sharon Toschak, Siriwan B, Chris Riley, Kari Churchill,

2nd shift: Nancy Gross, Pat Leatherwood, Mary Nemetz, Jim Jansen, Joe Furrer, Sandy Schnellenberger, Mila Lanuza, Valerie & Bob Kachlik.

Driving & Delivery Transports food/supplies for Family Shelter & Adult Shelter from OLM to Hesed House on the first Tuesday in a timely manner.

Leave OLM at 4:30PM. Food must be at the Adult (Men’s) Shelter main kitchen at 5PM. Hesed House staff are usually available to help with unloading food/supplies.

KT Arasu, Sharon Colin, Claudia Molina, Ivan Coutinho, Joe Furrer 
Hesed House Family Shelter Volunteers help from 5PM – 6:45PM. Collect prepared food transported from OLM to the PADS Main shelter at 5PM.

Set up at Family Shelter and serve dinner at 6PM – about 50 guests (women and children). Clean up.

Ivan Coutinho, Mila Lanuza, Steve & Lourdes Cox


Hesed House Adult (Men’s & Women’s) Shelter 12-15 volunteers help from 5:45PM to 8:45PM, preparing side dishes, and drinks, setting up the food at the serving station, serving guests dinner, dishwashing, and clean-up. New volunteers are required to fill out a basic volunteer profile on the Hesed House system when they arrive at the shelter (this is required for Health Department purposes, as well as volunteer protection in the event of an emergency).

All volunteers must wear masks.

Steve Dodd, Julie Wucka, Pete Kinsella, KT Arasu, Maria & Edgar Cuartero, Claudia & Michael Molina, Vincent Otieno, Bernie & Donna Schebler, Joe Furrer, Chris Wetzel, Sharon Smagala, Rita Weinstein, David Alanis, Barbara Hudson, Suzanne & Joel Acierto

Back-up: Amy & Mike Keppler, Deacon Phil & Jean Rehmer, Joy Austria

OLM Kitchen Breakfast Prep Buys, prepares, and packages breakfast at 3AM in the OLM kitchen on the first Wednesday of each month and delivers to Hesed House. Fixed menu: 144 breakfast sandwiches, yogurt, orange juice, coffee, and tea. This group shops independently for their food/supplies.

Len Eickhoff, Marty Kadziela, Greg Sondag, Keith Baur, Joe Furrer, Siriwan B