Harry’s Hands To Help and Heal Offers Lifeline and Help – Delco Times
GLENOLDEN — Jen Babe’s life changed forever on October 5, 2020. Harry Babe, her husband of 23 years, committed suicide.
Over the past year, while trying to cope with the loss of the love of her life and the tragedy of her untimely death, the grieving wife founded Harry’s Hands To Help and Heal, a community organization in nonprofit, aimed at ending the stigma of mental illness and suicide, and helping Delaware County residents affected by suicide. Based at the First Presbyterian Church of Glenolden, 2 S. Chester Pike, Harry’s Hands serves as a haven for anyone at risk of suicide and for family members and friends who must navigate life after a loved one. succumbs to suicide.
The organization not only organizes support groups, but also helps spouses, children and families affected by suicide and mental illness with food, clothing, essentials, resources and always an ear. attentive and caring. Harry’s Hands is also an advocate and voice for mental health in the community.
“People with mental health problems find it most difficult to meet the basic needs of life. They are embarrassed to ask for help because of the stigma around them, ”Babe explained. “Harry’s Hands wants to work to end stigma. Our mission is to help the spouse, children and families directly affected by suicide and mental illness. We provide help with food, clothing and resources and we’ll even pay for therapy if needed – whatever it takes to save a person’s life.
Harry Babe had a passion for motorcycles and cars. According to his family and friends, he was a brilliant mechanic who had an unmatched talent for fixing things with his hands. In June 2019, Harry had a terrible motorcycle accident that caused a severe brain hemorrhage that resulted in the loss of many bodily functions and triggered an attack of bipolar depression.
According to Jen, “He fought like hell every day to get over this. The drugs were no longer effective and, in the end, his wounds and his spirit took over.
While still reeling from her husband’s death, while trying to be there for their three children, ages 19, 23 and 20, and their four grandchildren, Jen Babe almost immediately got started. to think about “what if”. She wondered if there had been more help for her husband, a place where he could talk, get support, and share his suicidal thoughts, and if there was a place to go with people who would really understand. what she and her family are facing. the day after a suicide.
Never one to sit and meditate, Jen, a resident of the Holmes Chapter of Ridley Township, assembled her first support group and shared her thoughts and resources in November. Since then, Harry’s Hands to Help and Heal has continued to grow and expand the means to be there for the community. Babe, who quit her job as a home nurse during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, has turned her full attention to
Harry’s Hands, which she says has been very therapeutic for her and her family.
“I am blown away by the huge need there,” Babe explained. “Word is surely spreading that we are here. We want to be helpful to anyone with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, grief, or any type of mental health issue.
The 501 (c) (3) nonprofit has a handful of loyal volunteers, as well as a board of directors that includes Jen as president, her daughter Sam Babe as vice president, Lorna Laffey in as secretary, daughter-in-law Briana Babe as fundraising coordinator, Bob Gove as meeting coordinator, Becky Crawford as pantry coordinator, sons Edward and Erik Babe, son-in-law John Toy and several others.
Harry’s Hands Monthly No-Commitment Peer Support Group for anyone over the age of 18 meets on the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting will take place on Wednesday, December 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“People come to our peer support group for all kinds of reasons and from all walks of life,” Babe explained. “People who are having thoughts of suicide, family members and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide, people who suffer from anxiety or depression in their daily lives, and even vets with PTSD. We have a mix of people, but we are all here to support and help each other. People can speak or not speak, it is up to them to decide, although most of the time everyone shares.
Peer support is about conversation, dialogue and mutual understanding. It is heartwarming to know that someone else has been through the same difficulties. A peer support group can offer others strategies for dealing with mental health, honest and real shared experiences, coping skills to reduce stress, and sharing of resources. The group can also reduce a person’s isolation by offering a personal connection, as well as sharing information on how to contact professionals for help.
“We’re here to provide support and comfort to everyone who walks through the door,” Babe explained. “We want to let each participant know that they are not alone and help make their trip a little easier. Mental health is just as important as physical health.
“We’re not here to solve everyone’s problems,” added her daughter Sam. “We just want people to come together to exchange ideas, share resources, know that they are not alone. We want community members to know that we are here with a shoulder to lean on.
When Babe and her board of directors began to connect with other members of the community, they soon realized how many of those they met were struggling to make ends meet and, as a result, were having a serious food and clothing insecurity.
As a result, they started a Harry’s Hands pantry to distribute groceries, baby items, toiletries, and even pet food to those in need, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday. Originally started in the Babes’ basement, the pantry is now much more spacious after moving to the First Presbyterian Church in Glenolden last August.
Those in need who wish to shop in the pantry must reside in Delaware County. Harry’s Hands pantry currently serves around 30 to 50 people per week.
The group also offers clothing to those who need it. New and lightly used clothes, all clean and organized for navigation to the church, are distributed during the same days and times that the pantry is operating. The distribution of clothing began at the church in September.
Harry’s Hands to Help and Heal accepts food and clothing donations during the same hours as the distribution.
Babe said Harry’s Hands to Help and Heal volunteer team want to take responsibility and be there for those who need help. Babe explained that one of the mottos of Harry’s Hands to Help and Heal is “Together we can end the stigma: asking for help is the first step.”
Their awareness initiative is one of their most important. They want to put people in touch with the right resources to get the help they need.
“There are all kinds of help, but it’s often hard to find,” Babe explained. “Someone who is depressed or just struggling to get through a day, will not have the personal energy or strength to find help or resources on their own. We are open to anyone in need.
Following the suicide of a family member, Harry’s Hands offers support to survivors in several ways, including a food train for at least two weeks.
“After Harry died, we wouldn’t have eaten if people hadn’t sent us food,” Babe recalls, shaking her head at the sad memory. “We couldn’t function, but we are alone preparing a meal. “
Harry’s Hands is also advocating for needed changes to mental health laws. Its members recently participated in State Representative Jen O’Mara’s Mental Health Exhibit in September, as well as the annual Be Kind To Your Mind Run at Merry Place in Havertown.
“Poor mental health leads to suicide,” Babe said neutrally. “My husband was bipolar. If we are to try to prevent suicide, we need to end the stigma and be more open about mental health. “
Harry’s Hands to Help and Heal volunteers take their caring and compassionate ministry on the road a few times a month. The group stops at NA and AA meetings and salvage homes, as well as walks around 69th Street in Upper Darby and the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, to distribute food, toiletries , gloves, coats and hats to those in need.
“Addiction and mental health go hand in hand, you know,” Babe says sadly.
The local organization does a lot of outreach, as well as fundraising to keep everything flowing. Babe says they are very grateful to the local community’s 52 business sponsors and individual donors, who have helped in so many ways this year.
Last spring, the group organized an Easter egg hunt to raise awareness in their group. Over 300 families came and, Babe said, the group seemed to really take off after that. In the fall, the group hosted a very successful car and bike show at Glen Mills School, supported by 30 community sponsors. The organization also organized a distribution of children’s coats every Saturday in November that included free warm outerwear, hats and gloves.
Harry’s Hands is now getting ready for the holidays. The nonprofit collects toys for 250 children and serves as the US Marine Corps toddler toy drop site.
Harry’s Hands to Help and Heal will be hosting a Christmas Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 4 at First Presbyterian Church in Glenolden. The event will feature food, vendors, a basket raffle, vendors, children’s games, face painting, tours with Santa, and more. Most importantly, Harry’s Hands To Help and Heal hopes to showcase their organization during the event, with a focus on mental health and suicide awareness, so the community knows that help nearby is available and easily accessible. , at any time.
For more information, visit https://harryshands.com, call 610-724-4230, e-mail [email protected] or contact us through “Harry’s Hands to Help and Heal” page on Facebook.