Chicago organization brings a homestyle taste of Easter to families far from home

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Special Easter deliveries offer a taste of home, away from home, in the middle of Chicago's Illinois Medical District.

"The mission of Guest House is to provide temporary lodging for medical patients and their families when they have to come to Chicago for medical treatment," said Adam Helman, executive director at Guest House.

Guest House has served patients and their families for more than a decade and is the only organization in Chicago that accepts patients of all ages in active treatment, including military veterans.

"The families often get together. They get to know each other, they talk to each other and building that community really kind of breaks down the sense of isolation," Helman said.

And on a day when many Christian families celebrate with their loved ones, Helman and his wife Rachel spent hours preparing a full Easter feast for all residents after celebrating Passover.

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"Passover really celebrates helping a stranger in a strange land and the people were staying with us," Helman said. "They are, for the time, they're with us."

Bob Zmuda has been staying in one of Guest House's 47 fully-furnished living spaces for the past week after he traveled far from home, back to his hometown, for dialysis treatment.

"You know, I thought okay, you know, I'd be alone on Easter and this is great to have this sense of community here," Zmuda said.

This special Easter meal is only one example of the unique comforts Guest House offers. Not just a sense of familiarity but also through meeting other residents, a little levity through camaraderie and community.

"It takes the stress level down," Zmuda said. "You know, you're not sitting there alone and scared or anything. So just fantastic; I love this place."

Helman said Guest House's biggest population they serve are cancer patients. And thanks to a grant last year from the American Cancer Society, cancer patients getting medical treatment at any Chicago facility can get lodging at Guest House through the grant.
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