March 2, 2020
Treats of Comfort: Hospice Volunteer Baker Gladys Hertzberg
Every Friday for nearly 17 years, Gladys Hertzberg has dropped off two loaves of cinnamon bread and two pans of scotcheroos at EveryStep's Kavanagh House on 56th Street.
She's only missed one week delivering the baked goods to hospice patients' families, and that was just a few short months ago when she came down with the flu.
"I won't let them down," the long-time volunteer says of delivering her goods. "When I come in on Friday, they know who I am and thank me."
Gladys began volunteering at the hospice house back in 2003 shortly after her husband Grover, a patient there, passed away.
"We live close and joked when they were building Kavanagh House if we'd ever need it," she said. "Then my husband was there and now some friends have been there, too."
While her husband was at Kavanagh House for only a week, the stay made a huge impact on Gladys.
"I realized what it meant to have someone there," she said. "It's a wonderful place, I wish everyone could go there if they need it."
Over the years, Gladys has taken on a number of volunteer tasks: answering the phone, greeting visitors at the front desk and working in the kitchen making meals for patients.
In recent years, however, she lost sight in one eye and began using hearing aids.
"I couldn't answer the phone, but I'll still bake as long as I'm able," she said. "I love to bake and I can do it constantly. These families, if they have something to stick in their mouth and a cup of coffee, it helps."
With the exception of her recent illness, Gladys says she makes a point to ensure the families get their scotcheroos and cinnamon bread each Friday.
"Even if I have to go out of town, I see that they get it," she says. "I'll go on Thursday or before."
Gladys recalls when she first began baking for the hospice house receiving an urgent call from the hospice volunteer coordinator about a need for baked goods.
"I live close and she called saying there was nothing in the family room, did I have something in the freezer I could whip up," Gladys remembers. "She said scotcheroos are easy to make, but I didn't know what those were."
Now she brings the peanut-butter-chocolate Rice Krispie treats each week. And she doesn't plan to stop anytime soon.
"The people there are just a different group of people, they are all wonderful," she says. "People who volunteer or bake things, it means so much. It's a wonderful experience."
Gladys encourages everyone who has a little time to reach out about volunteering with EveryStep.
"People have to realize that it's a special place," Gladys says. "To volunteer or bake things means so much to the families. It's a worthwhile experience."
If you or someone you know has an interest in volunteering with EveryStep, please visit our website and fill out a volunteer interest form.