Hesed House/PADS

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Matthew 25:40

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+ volunteers from 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

To watch the Hesed House Informational Video, use the link, or scan the QR code below:

What Do We Do at OLM PADS/Hesed House?


“Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.”

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 250 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 184 breakfast sandwiches, yogurt, orange juice, coffee, tea).
  3. Pack and deliver 120 bagged lunches for use on the first Wednesday of each month (each bagged lunch includes either a turkey, ham, or PB&J sandwich, a granola bar, a fruit, cookies & a bag of 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 (18 years and up) who live out their faith by committing their time, energy, and hospitality 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


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.

**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.


Roles, Responsibilities & Key Volunteers

Click here to view it in .pdf format: PADS 2024

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. In attendance on monthly service day, and 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 – authorizes shopping 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 Supervises cooking on PADS service day. Meets monthly with the Coordinator & Board Layout team to suggest ideas on each menu. Menu is decided after thoughtful consideration of season, temperature, traditional or national holidays. Collaborates on detailed menu, ingredients, quantities, description of items, additional condiments or supplies needed. These tabulations will allow the PADS Board Layout team to properly reflect the “wishlist” items & configure layout on the PADS Board. Linda Eickhoff, Marty Kadziela 
PADS Board Layout/Design Plan, layout, design, execute and display PADS Board after meticulous consideration of all items/quantities needed to be solicited. Works closely with Menu/Meal Planning lead. Board needs to be up on display 2 weekends before the drop-off weekend. Also tasked to print menu signs for display, lunch tags, and make nametags for volunteers. Margaret & Steve Dodd 
PADS Drop Off Items Sorter Puts out bins, carts and thank you signs on the PADS board before the Saturday Mass on the drop-off weekend. Collects, manages, secures & organizes all donated/dropped off items (before all weekend Masses prior to first Tuesday of the month). All dropped off items are moved from the bins/cooler and methodically stored away in the freezer, refrigerator or boxes in Room 110 (PLC). Phyllis Anderson, Gloria Mitchell 
Inventory Taking  The inventory taker assists the Coordinator to take inventory of all the items that are collected at the PADS drop-off weekend Masses, to determine quantities, and report any shortfall/deficit. Any shortfall will then be purchased prior to the Tuesday meal preparation. Typically, the inventory taking is done on the Sunday night of the drop-off weekend (usually when the 5.30PM Mass begins). Amy Keppler 
Bagged Lunch Prep Collects, assembles and bags 120 sack lunches (100 turkey/ham and 20 PB&J) for delivery to Hesed House. Lunch bags include a sandwich, granola bar, an apple/orange, cookies, a bag of chips. All lunch bags are tagged with information on the type of sandwich, date and prepared by OLM Catholic Church. Assembled lunches are then delivered to Hesed House. Betsy Utterback (lead), Mary Nemetz, Jim Jansen, Pat Leatherwood, Valerie & Bob Kachlik, Sandy Schnellenberger, Nancy Gross, Elly Ochoa, Mary & John Zeunik.
OLM Kitchen Dinner Prep


Volunteers help prepare, cook, package, cleanup and organize meals for 250 guests at PADS/Hesed House shelter. The menu varies for each month. Volunteers cook main and side dishes, and package them in covered/distinctly labeled foil trays. All hot food is kept in the food warmer prior to being moved for transport to the Family Shelter, Adult Men’s Shelter and Adult Women’s Shelter at Hesed House. Marty Kadziela, Keith Baur, Rose Rolando, Kari Churchill, Le Roy Churchill, Jeanne Daill, Margaret Dodd, Corey Waldinger, Mark & Amy Miller, Sharon Toschak, Janice Vercillo, Linda Eickhoff
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. KT Arasu, Sharon Colin, Ivan Coutinho, Joe Furrer 
Hesed House Family Shelter 4 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 Shelter 12-15 volunteers help from 6PM to 8.45PM, organizing dropped off food, preparing side dishes & drinks, setting up food, serving guests dinner, dishwashing, clean-up and minding the shelter store. There are 150 guests at the Adult Men’s Shelter and 50 guests at the Adult Women’s Shelter. New volunteers are required to fill out a basic volunteer profile on the Hesed House system when you arrive at the shelter (this is required for Health Department purposes, as well as volunteer protection in the event of emergency). Steve Dodd, Julie Wucka, Pete Kinsella, KT Arasu, Amy & Mike Keppler, Sharon Smagala, Maria & Edgar Cuartero, Joe Furrer,  Bernie & Donna Schebler, Chris Wetzel, Suzanne Acierto, Tracy Etheridge, Diana Sanchez, Deb Davis, Lloyd Warber, Erica Wiggins & Topher Otieno. 
OLM Kitchen Breakfast Prep From 3-5AM, volunteers help prepare, cook, package, clean-up and organize to transport breakfast to Hesed House. The fixed breakfast menu includes 184 breakfast sandwiches, yogurt, orange juice, coffee, and tea.
Len Eickhoff, Marty Kadziela, Keith Baur, Greg Sondag, Joe Furrer


Shops for breakfast items and any shortfall in items/condiments/supplies needed to prepare the service day meals, as communicated by the Coordinator after inventory taking is completed. Provides copies of receipts to the Business Manager and Coordinator for proper record keeping.
Len Eickhoff