A Look Back to the 2022 Lights for Love Event

These beautiful images show the sweetness of the 2022 Lights for Love Memorial Event. This year, Caring Hearts and Hands of Columbia is honored to host the luminary event again on Saturday, Oct. 28 in Cosmo-Bethel Park at 6 p.m. Purchase a luminary in memory of someone you love now or on the day of the event. Musical Entertainment includes Harry Beckett, Ranan Reis Leme, Olivia Swanson & Bill Kollars, Giving Song Singers, and The Threshold Choir.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available at caringheartandhands.org/luminary/. All proceeds will be used to support CHHC for those who are under hospice care.

Isaacs carries on wife’s legacy by donating

Donor Spotlight: Steve Isaacs; picture of Steve with sunglasses in a red shirt.

Steve Isaacs lost his wife when she was 40, and they had no viable options outside of the hospital for her final days. But now, with the staff and volunteers at Caring Hearts and Hands, Isaacs does his part to give back to help others in the same situation, carrying on her legacy.

Can you tell us a bit about your life? Work? Family? 

I am from South Dakota, originally.  At least that is where I lived the longest (my father was in the Air Force). I graduated from SEMO and then from Mizzou Law School. I practiced law for about seven-and-a-half years before leaving to work with my best friend’s advertising company, where I’ve been working for the past 17 or so years.  I have a 15-year-old son named Vince.

How did you learn about Caring Hearts and Hands? 

I was previously married, and my wife Stephanie sadly passed away from breast cancer at the age of 40. We would have loved to have a place for her to spend her final days rather than a hospital, but there were no viable options.  

After her passing, I met and began dating Theresa Rardin, who coincidentally was involved with CHHC. That is what introduced me to the organization. I wanted to be able to honor Stephanie, but also help others who are in her unfortunate situation. I feel like I am carrying on her legacy when I am able to help at CHHC.

What draws you to the organization’s mission? 

Mainly the fact that I have been in the exact same situation as the families they serve today. I know how unbelievably difficult it is. To have an organization that helps take care of one of the most anxiety-producing parts of that journey—the end-of-life stage—is very important.

What is the most rewarding part about CHHC?

Knowing that they are taking some of the burden off of the families, while also often times fulfilling the patient’s desire not to die in a hospital.  

Lights for Love

Join us for our third Lights for Love Memorial Event on Oct. 28, 2023 at Cosmo-Bethel Park. This beautiful evening is an opportunity to honor and remember someone you love while giving back to those in hospice care in our community.

Luminaries will be available for purchase now and at check-in the day of the event. All proceeds will be used to support our home in Columbia for those who are under hospice care, in the last 30 days of life, and in need of caregiver support.

We are also looking for businesses and community members to sponsor the event. Visit caringheartandhands.org/luminary/ to give today, or reach out to info@caringheartandhands.org with questions.

Aldens understand need for compassion

For husband and wife Mike and Rockie Alden, a common value brings them to Caring Hearts and Hands: compassion. These two volunteers help keep the house and yard clean and welcoming, bringing their experience from other non-profit work as well as their hearts to serve others.

How did you get involved with Caring Hearts and Hands?

Rockie: I ran into Cindy Daugherty a few years back and she shared the vision with me. My mother was in a hospice house in Arizona, and I saw and felt how important it was. I told her I wanted to be a volunteer.

Mike: I was aware of Caring Hearts and Hands through Rockie’s interest, involvement and training.

What work do you do with them? 

R: I went through the training for caregiver, but I do not have a medical background so I am training with someone right now. I usually sign up as the house volunteer and take care of laundry and light cleaning, as well as make food as needed, and I can usually shadow the caregiver at the same time.

M: I am a part of the outdoor maintenance team. We are a group of volunteers that maintain the yard work, do snow removal and support outdoor efforts of the house and property.

What draws you to the organization’s mission?

R: It offers amazing compassion not only to the guests but also the families and loved ones. And it provides a much-needed service for those that are at the end of life, allowing them dignity, peace and the best setting possible.

M: Understanding we have a need for compassionate, dignified and respectful care and support in our community is what impresses me about the mission of CHHC. Knowing that we have an organization with support people that are compassionate, competent, committed and provide servant leadership is a blessing for the guests of CHHC, the families, the friends and our community.

What experience do you have outside of CHHC and how does that help your work there?

R: I have been fortunate to do a lot of volunteer work and have interfaced with a lot of people in a lot of settings. I can use those skills to help others that are experiencing a different phase of life’s journey.

M: Rockie and I have been fortunate to be involved with and learn from so many incredible people and organizations in Columbia and mid-Missouri. Those experiences with non-profit, civic, community and city/county organizations, combined with working at the University of Missouri has provided me with an informed perspective that assists me with CHHC.

What do you do for fun/to destress? 

R: I like to exercise, read, travel, spend time on our family property and do crafty things.

M: I work out, work at and enjoy our farm in Callaway County, travel with Rockie, and live vicariously through our kid in Boston. And read… I really enjoy learning.

What is the most rewarding thing about CHHC? 

R: I think two things: Making people feel comfortable when they need it the most and allowing family members to be there for their family emotionally. Since they don’t need to worry about the care, they can enjoy this last time together without stress. I love the home and the new people I’m meeting and working alongside. I am really enjoying this work! It is super rewarding!

M: Providing a welcoming and comfortable home for the guests and families/friends at CHHC is really special. Knowing there is a place of peace, comfort and support combined with a welcoming and loving culture is amazing. CHHC is a gift to so many!

Antal brings experience, creativity, empathy to CHHC

Caring Hearts and Hands of Columbia (CHHC) is only possible through the help of dedicated volunteers. It takes a special, passionate team to keep everything running and provide the best care for their guests. One such volunteer, Linda Antal, brings helpful experience from her work at Boone Hospital and empathy learned from her parents to both write policies and serve as a Caretaker Volunteer.

How did you get involved with Caring Hearts and Hands? 

I got involved with CHHC through my association with Jackie Reed and Dorreen Rardin. I worked with both of them at Boone Hospital, and Dorreen recruited me to help. 

What work do you do with them? 

My first project was volunteering at Lights for Love several years ago. After becoming a member of the Operations Committee, I volunteered to write the policies and procedures for CHHC. In a weird way, I like writing policies and developing forms that support the processes that need to be followed. I used samples from other hospice houses as a starting point, made them our own and then presented them to the Board for approval. Since orientation involves education about the policies and forms to be used at CHHC, I also wrote the orientation manuals used for the caregiver and house volunteer classes. I continue to tweak the policies and forms to make them work better for us, but now I am also a caretaker volunteer. 

What draws you to the organization’s mission? 

I have had several family members who were on hospice before they passed away—most specially, my husband and mother. I experienced first-hand the comfort and caring hospice can provide. After retiring, I wanted to give back and thought I’d like to be involved volunteering for one of the local hospice agencies. CHHC came along instead!

What experience do you have outside of CHHC and how does that help your work there? 

I am a registered nurse and retired from Boone Hospital after working there for 39 years. I spent the last 25 years of my career working in leadership positions where one of my responsibilities was maintaining the policies and procedures for nursing. This prepared me well for my work at CHHC!

What do you do for fun/to destress?

Doing something creative is my best way to destress. I like all forms of needle arts (knitting, crocheting, embroidery, etc.), making junk journals and working in our flower beds. I also became a Master Naturalist last year and am enjoying volunteering in parks and outdoor spaces to spread native plants and knowledge about our ecosystem and the importance of preserving it! 

Can you tell us more about your family / where you’re from? 

I grew up in Hermann, MO with seven brothers. My mom and dad handed down a strong work ethic and taught all of us kindness, the importance of taking care of our earth, and empathy and compassion for others. I now live in Ashland with my daughter, her husband and two grandchildren – Emma (14) and Lucy (10). I am so lucky to be able to see my grandchildren every day and be part of their lives.  

What is the most rewarding thing about CHHC? 

I find the care of our guests the most rewarding aspect of my involvement with CHHC. I was not at the bedside for the last several years of my nursing career and feel so fortunate to be able to provide hands-on care again. Dying is a sacred time in the lives of our guests, and I am privileged to be a part of it.

Potts family finds comfort at CHHC

Caring Hearts and Hands of Columbia was privileged to be part of the life of one of its first guests, David Potts. Volunteers were able to provide the care he and his family needed in his final days. David stayed at the home for 11 days and passed away on his 12th. His wife, Janet, and his two sons, Mike and Greg, were all able to be with him in that time.

“We just felt like he got wonderful care,” Janet shared, “We were just so thrilled to be able to get the services offered.”

After David fell and went to the hospital, the social worker started talking about nursing homes, but he was adamant that he did not want to go to one. So the social worker told the family about Caring Hearts and Hands.

“We’d never heard of it. And my husband said, ‘That’s where I’d like to go,'” Janet explained. “The timing was just perfect. It was just absolutely the most wonderful thing that could have happened.”

Mike and Greg both came in from out of state and were able to stay with their parents.

The Help of Volunteer Caregivers

The family felt that the volunteers at the home went above and beyond. When David wanted a certain meal, whether that be shrimp, ribs or a McDonald’s sausage biscuit, they would go right out and get it. David developed a good relationship with one of his evening caretakers and had several deep conversations. Another caretaker brought Janet flowers, candies and a card for Mother’s Day, and helped David sign the card and make her a video.

“She really didn’t have to do that, but it was nice of her,” Janet said. “She gave the card to him and he signed it. And then he did a video of saying that I know you’re not my mother, but Happy Mother’s Day and that you’ve done a good job being a mother to our two sons. It’s very touching.”

Paying It Forward

After their experience in our home, Janet, Mike and Greg all made donations to Caring Hearts and Hands so that the home could serve our next guest with the same level of attention and care.

“My husband just thought that it was the perfect place for him. He needed to be there, and he was happy to to be there.”

Janet Potts

Our home seeks to do more than just provide a comfortable place and provide for guests and their families physically, because emotional and spiritual needs must be met with the same compassion and love. We are happy that we could offer a safe, warm and loving environment to David, Janet, Mike and Greg.

“I got a lot of hugs,” Janet said. “Those volunteers give good hugs.”

ForColumbia volunteers beautify Social Model Home

Thanks to the efforts of #ForColumbia, and incredible volunteers across the community, the exterior of Caring Hearts and Hands of Columbia saw an incredible transformation.

A group of nearly 20 volunteers from community organizations like The Crossing and Our Lady of Lourdes came together to trim back bushes and trees, weed overgrown garden beds, power-wash a privacy fence, construct a new section of privacy fence, replace screens on the screened-in porch, and create a walkway to a lovely playhouse.

“This has been incredible,” says Kasey Kronk, operations director of Caring Hearts and Hands. “The transformation in just a few hours is a testament to our entire model. We want to be a community home: a home for the community, supported by the community. And this shows that it’s possible!”

ForColumbia, founded in 2015, brings Christians together to serve the community together. This nondenominational effort brought people together, many who had never heard or or seen Caring Hearts and Hands of Columbia. Volunteers spent three or six hours, enjoyed lunch, took tours of the home, and got some serious work done! 

To learn more about a social model home, and end-of-life care, check out the resources page.

Spring Flower Fundraiser

Your spring purchases can do more than beautiful your home. You’ll also make our house a home for those who need end-of-life care.

Snag some beautiful flowers and gorgeous vegetables for your 2023 garden in either April or May at Strawberry Hill Farms. Mention Caring Hearts and Hands at checkout, and they’ll donate 10% of your purchase to our social model home. In 2022, this fundraiser raised more than $1,000 for our home. We hope to match or exceed that in 2023!

Present this flyer or mention us when making your spring purchase.

Making a positive difference in a difficult time

Caring Hearts and Hands operates fully through the help of volunteers like Jan Asbury, who serves on the Operations Committee and works passionately to bring as much peace as she can to end-of-life guests.

How did you first hear about Caring Hearts and Hands?

I heard about CHHC from Dorreen Rardin, who told me about the plans for the house and asked if I was interested in volunteering. 

How long have you been involved with CHHC? 

I’ve been on CHHC’s Operations Committee for about a year.

What draws you to the organization’s mission?

I have said for years I felt this area needed a hospice house. After learning about CHHC, I loved the idea of opening a social model end-of-life home instead. A home where one can spend their last days in a loving, respectful, caring environment that can meet their physical, spiritual and emotional needs with their loved ones at their side. The fact that this care will be free of charge is just icing on the cake!

When you talk to others about CHHC, what resonates with them?

When I speak with others about CHHC, I get very positive responses. I get the feeling that they see the need for such a home in Columbia and are pleased that one will be opening soon.

Where are you from?

I was born in Ohio and lived in Indiana and Alabama before moving to Hallsville when I was eight. I currently live in Fayette.

Tell us about your family and/or those closest in your life.

I have been married to my husband, Doug, for 35 years. I have two children and their spouses and two grandchildren, who I absolutely adore and love. 

What do you hope to accomplish as a volunteer?

My goal is to provide a peaceful caring environment for the guests and their families. I hope to be a blessing to those I encounter and make a positive difference during a difficult time. I look forward to the blessings I will take away, too.

We Need YOU

Volunteers make our house a home

Starting and operating a home like Caring Hearts and Hands is not possible without volunteers. Both the guests and the home need help, so a volunteer’s responsibilities may include:

  • Personal caregiving
  • Cooking
  • Housekeeping
  • Maintaining the yard and home
  • Running errands
  • Grocery shopping
  • Working in the office
  • Fundraising
  • Communicating, and more.

Regardless of your previous experience or training, we need YOU. To learn more about how to volunteer today, you can:

Call for volunteers: Personal caregiving, Cooking, Housekeeping, Running errands, 
Maintaining the yard & home, Grocery shopping, Working in the office, Fundraising, Communicating & more