HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital partners with Bridge Bread to support program addressing homelessness

2019 marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. Since their start date in 1875, the Hospital Sisters have been caring for patients in Illinois, Wisconsin and other locations in the United States and across the world. Today, Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) is a multi-institutional health care system that cares for patients in 14 communities in Illinois and Wisconsin. 

The Mission Integration Committee of HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is dedicated to keeping the foundational mission principles founded by the Hospital Sisters in the forefront of the hospital’s colleagues. The committee presents numerous events and educational opportunities each year for both the public and employees to participate and shows how they can carry the light of the Hospital Sisters forward in today’s modern world. 

An upcoming event planned is an on-site sale with Bridge Bread™ on Wednesday, February 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the St. Francis Room, located in the main lobby of the hospital. This event is open to the public.

Bridge Bread is a social enterprise designed to provide job opportunities for people experiencing homelessness. The goal of the program is to help the disadvantaged engage in a financially rewarding effort that enhances self-worth, promotes dignity and enables them to help themselves.

“Our colleagues live our mission each day by delivering quality health care to the patients inside our walls but, as a Franciscan ministry, we also look for activities that are a respectful response to the truth that all people are created in God’s image and seek ways to further serve those in need in the larger community,” said Director of Mission Integration, Spiritual Care and Community Benefit Donna Meyers, MSN, RN. “By bringing in the Bridge Bread organization, we are able to offer space and support the great work they are doing. Colleagues appreciate creative ways to live the mission in all aspects of their life. Bridge Bread is one of those opportunities.”

Products to be offered include handmade signature loaves of bread, bagels, brownies, cinnamon rolls, baguettes and dinner rolls.

This is the second sale that the hospital has hosted and Meyers noted that the entire inventory sold out at the first one so the sale time has been expanded and Bridge Bread will be bringing more inventory. 

All proceeds from the sale at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital will go back to Bridge Bread.

Fred and Sharon Domke founded Bridge Bread in 2011 and the first retail location for the Bridge Bread opened in 2015. There are now two locations, one in St. Louis and another in St. Charles. Donations to support special programs and equipment purchases are welcome. 

According to Bridge Bread’s website, those experiencing homelessness have few opportunities to become productively employed. The Bridge Bread program allows them to participate with minimal training and minimal commitment. After training and establishing a positive work record, their workers become more employable and can move on to more traditional jobs.

More information about donations and the Bridge Bread organization can be found at www.bridgebread.org.

Other events supported by St. Elizabeth’s Mission Integration Committee include food and school supply drives, hygiene products and sock collections to benefit Cosgrove’s Kitchen in East St. Louis, feast day celebrations of patron saints of the hospital, and ongoing support of a Colleague Assistance Fund.