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Trisha Baum is the 2nd oldest of seven children in her family. She was born and raised in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. While she describes her childhood as “wonderful”, this does not hold true for everyone in her beloved neighborhood. Kensington’s working class community has long suffered from a significant population loss, high unemployment, economic decline, and the abandoning of homes. Throughout her childhood, Trisha witnessed how the stresses of this environment drove family members, friends and neighbors to turn to drugs and alcohol. Along with addiction, also came the realities of homelessness, mental illness and the placement of many children into foster care. All around her, the picture was not always pretty. She moved from Kensington and spent several years working in the construction & insurance administration, industries in the Philadelphia area & McGuire AFB, NJ. While Trisha was fortunate to have steered herself away from the struggles of Kensington, the pain of its people would forever tug at her heart. Over the last several years, drug addiction took hold of one of Trisha’s younger brother Bill. She became Bill’s biggest advocate, providing him with compassion, love and hope. Trisha soon realized the power and importance of simply “being there” for an addict. She decided that she could no longer watch. Trisha needed to act.
In 2010, Trisha began volunteering with community outreach groups, serving those on the streets of Kensington. Whether it was a smile, hug, warm jacket or bottled water, she selflessly lent her hand to make a difference. Importantly, Trisha learned how to navigate the “support system”. In turn, she shared her knowledge and experience with other addicts’ families. She even helped place many of those in need into detox and treatment programs. Trisha moved to NJ in 2007 Her new friends and neighbors took notice of her kind efforts and provided support for her causes. They also urged her to replicate her work in their NJ communities. In June 2017, Trisha founded Hand ‘n’ Heart, a 503c nonprofit organization based in Mt. Laurel, NJ.
Hand ‘n’ Heart’s mission is to “Give those in need a hand” whether it’s helping the homeless with food, clothing, resources and help getting into treatment, sending children a heart package filled with some cool items to put a smile on their face, helping foster children with backpacks and duffel bags that have socks, toothbrush, coloring book and crayons.
Once a month, Trisha leads homeless outreach days in both Philadelphia and NJ. Hand ‘n’ Heart volunteers distribute food, clothing and love bags filled with snacks and notes of encouragement. Since its launch, social media postings have been instrumental in recruiting volunteers, generating donations and driving awareness. Charming Charlie’s, Kohl’s and Five Below have sponsored in-store fundraising events. Hand ‘n’ Heart has held numerous Love Bag parties, a Back to School Backpack drive for foster children and a Socktober sock drive.Hand ‘n’ Heart has established working partnerships with Together We Rise, Pajama Program, Fun n Function, Five and Below and currently gathering more. The response has been so overwhelming that Hand ‘n’ Heart has already outgrown their storage space.
In a short time, Trisha’s leadership has been recognized in the community. She has received a Fox 29 YOU GO THERE award in August 2017 and was featured in a Burlington County News article. On November 16, 2017, she received an Emerging Leader award from the Burlington County Chamber of Commerce and recently received the Santander & Phila Eagles Community Quarterback award and recently she was named 2019 Woman of the Year in NJ. Trisha credits her success to the help of others. Hand ‘n’ Heart depends on the helping hands of their many volunteers whose hearts are filled with generosity and compassion and understand the need to erase the stigma of addiction and mental illness in both adults and children.
Trisha resides in NJ with her husband Carl and their two sons, Brandon (8) and Logan (5). She is a full-time stay at home mother who is truly passionate about helping others. Their family enjoys spending time together outdoors, boating on the Delaware River, hiking local parks and trails and hanging out in their own backyard.
I’m Bridget Lange and I began volunteering with Hand’n’Heart in September 2017. The group appealed to me because of the hands on work they do with the homeless community. I was searching for a way to make a difference, and I love the way Hand’n’Heart members interact so personally with those we are helping. It is a wonderful feeling to see the gratitude from folks who need our compassion. I grew up in Philadelphia and recently relocated to Mount Laurel, NJ, but I still work in the City. I see those in need every day and it breaks my heart, but being involved in Hand’n’Heart makes me realize that there is always hope. The experience of being out in the community with the homeless, has changed my life and I no longer feel helpless because I know I am helping make a difference. I am the mom of two boys and I hope that the work I am doing with Hand’n’Heart will inspire them to show compassion towards others.
Lead Outreach Volunteer
My name is Kelsey Knowles and I have been a part of Hand ‘n’ Heart since August of 2017. I am very passionate about helping people in need as well as ending the stigmas against homelessness, mental illness, and those struggling in any way. I think that every person deserves love and dignity and I am dedicated to doing whatever I can to spread that message.
I currently live in Mount Laurel and I am a high school English teacher in Philadelphia. I absolutely love teaching! When I am not working or volunteering, I enjoy reading, writing, sports, music, and spending time with friends and family.
Lead Outreach Recovery Volunteer
I'm Carl Baum and I have over 24 years of continuous sobriety and for me its very important to give back and help those who are still suffering. I like to plant the seed's of hope for someone else who is going through a tough time and may need guidance.
We all know how important it is to have a support system and with my knowledge and experience I know I can help someone else. Where there is breath there is hope!
Lead Outreach Volunteer
I’m Jackie Guzman and have been a member of Hand ‘n’ Heart since August 2017. I grew up in South Jersey and have frequented Philadelphia many times, but there was one particular night in Philly where I finally opened my eyes. I saw many homeless people that night, and countless were ignored by walking bystanders, myself included. It was that moment where I knew I wasn’t doing enough, and I wanted to be a resource for them. From there on, I researched local opportunities and the grassroot organization Hand ‘n’ Heart caught my eye.
Hand ‘n’ Heart’s mission to assist those afflicted from mental illness, homelessness, and substance use disorder really spoke volumes. The organization welcomed me with open arms, and the passion to help is what keeps me going.
I’m an accountant by day, but spend my free time snowboarding, training for triathlons, and salsa dancing. I enjoy helping out, which led me to Hand ‘n’ Heart, but I am also a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer for neglected and abused children in foster care. Time is always limited, but I love what I do every day.