The Gathering Together in Plainfield

Find End-of-Life Compassion and Support at The Gathering Together

In the early 2000s, Rita Fiorentino opened The Gathering Together in Plainfield. As a hospice-trained nurse, she saw many families who wanted more personalized care, someone to talk to, and knowledge of how to best care for their loved one. Her solution was to open her own home to guests and families in need. She may not have been able to help all patients in hospice, but she’s touched numerous lives.

The Gathering Together is a place where families say goodbye to their loved one in the last days or weeks of their life. It’s not a nursing home and it’s not a hospice facility. The home at 147 Center Street in Plainfield is simply a nonprofit, charitable organization making it easier for families to manage through this tough moment in life.

After more than 20 years serving families in her home, Fiorentino retired and passed the executive director role on to Kimberli Linneman, a 15-year veteran of hospice care, in January. “I sort of fell upon my first hospice job by chance and fell in love with it,” Linneman said.

The Gathering Together Executive Director Kimberli Linneman
Kimberli Linneman with The Gathering Together (photography by Amy Payne)

Surprising? Those who have experienced the loss of a parent or grandparent might think the last few days of that person’s life were not filled with peace, but staff at The Gathering Together hope to change that perception. “I love helping people in their most vulnerable time,” Linneman said. “It’s a hard time for families and I really enjoy helping them. We are the last people someone sees before they meet their maker and I think that’s such a special time to be with them.”

Linneman worked for a hospice company that cared for patients at Fiorentino’s residence for six years, and fell in love with her mission. She then served on the board for nearly two years before being named executive director. It’s a dream job for her and she has plenty of plans and goals for the future of the nonprofit.

“This is the exact position I’ve prayed for, for years,” Linneman said. “I didn’t know if it was possible, but Rita made it work and it is possible. It’s so needed in our community and the sky is the limit.” Walking into the home, guests can’t help but sense the peaceful and calm nature of the space. It was important to Fiorentino, and is now important to Linneman, that the furniture is comfortable, the kitchen is stocked with snacks and, as often as possible, a large pot of soup is simmering on the stove.

Families can make this space home for the short time they stay. They can cook in the kitchen, visit in the living room and, of course, spend time with their loved one.

“I don’t ever tell a family they need to leave,” Linneman said. “Some people want to stay around the clock and others allow us to care for their loved one at night so they can go home and get some rest. We want to allow the family to be family members and not have the burden of caregiving. Let us take care of that and you can focus on loving on mom or dad, and experiencing this time with them.”

Room at The Gathering Together in Plainfield

The average guest is there for a few days to a few weeks.

Hospice providers come in and provide medications and physician oversight. It’s similar to bringing a loved one home, with the exception of not becoming the caregiver.

“We’re not state or federally funded,” Linneman said. “We are literally inviting people into our home to be loved on. We’re like a stand-in family member.”

On average they have seen around 24 guests per year. Since Linneman was named executive director, she’s been working on improving and growing the service too. “When I started, we took a pause to make some repairs to the home and give it a fresh coat of paint,” Linneman said. “We’ve brought in some new furniture, and brought in some new positions like house manager and office manager. They are keeping things organized and scheduling volunteers. We want to help twice as many guests as we’ve had in the past.”


What began as Fiorentino doing the majority of the caregiving has grown to a large network of caregivers and volunteers. Linneman hopes others will come forward to allow them to continue to grow in their mission. More guests and more employees equals the need for more volunteers and more funds raised.

“This isn’t just about one person,” Linneman said. “It’s about everyone coming together. It’s each person individually helping that makes a difference.” Others in the community are hosting laundry detergent drives or paper good collections, bringing in homemade cookies or meals, or simply donating monthly funds toward the cause.

The Gathering Together has a Support Page and hosts several events throughout the year to raise funds for their operation.

“We have Gathering in the Gardens coming up in early June and we have a fall event, Soup’s On, where the community can come together, have a free cup of soup and fellowship with us,” Linneman said. “We’re hoping to bring back our Christmas Open House in 2024 as well.”

It was Fiorentino’s goal, and is now Linneman’s goal, for families to feel togetherness and support when they are going through one of the most difficult times of their lives. “Death hits home,” Linneman said. “Everyone has experienced loss and when you have the loss on top of caring for your loved one, it can be tough. Our mission is to serve those that God places before us, and I think the lord places the right people before us so we can help them.”

Linneman welcomes visitors and those interested in understanding more about what they do. Visit or call 317-766-0532.

Comments 3

  1. Evelyn Wood says:

    My mother June McGeorge was there March 2015. It was such a blessing to be able to be with her and not working about her care. I have nothing to say about Reta

    • Amber says:

      I am glad you had a good experience at The Gathering but the last line of your comment is rather odd.

  2. Sharon Petree says:

    Forever grateful for Rita and her love that she provided for my sister, our family will have nothing but love and warm thoughts of her forever.

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