Appreciating our Volunteers Year Round!
- By: Sharon Davidson
April is National Volunteer Appreciation month. But at Big Bend Hospice, we recognize the importance our volunteers make every day. Whether they work directly with patients, provide comfort to caregivers, or supply much need administrative assistance, volunteers are the key to our mission to support those facing a terminal illness.
When most people are asked if they’d like to become a hospice volunteer, they immediately think of sitting by a person’s beside who is actively dying. Nothing could be further from the truth. Big Bend Hospice has a variety of volunteer opportunities which capture the strengths and creativity of those wanting to give back.
While a majority of our volunteers do work directly with patients suffering from a terminal illness, most provide respite and comfort to caregivers. They may pay a weekly visit to the patient’s home and sit while the caregiver runs errands. They may go to an assisted living facility near their way home to visit with a patient. These visits may include reading, watching television, or simply listening to the patient.
Making a good first impression is important for BBH in our quest for excellent customer service. Volunteers serve as Greeters in our Jean McCulley Family House. They offer directions, assistance, and support to those visiting the Margaret Z. Dozier Hospice House, our 12 bed, in-patient facility.
Administrative volunteers file, copy, do data entry, and prepare mailings for all of our departments. They help with special projects and even assist with the volunteer program.
Big Bend Hospice hosts several annual fundraisers and special events throughout eight counties. Volunteers serve food at the Spring Fling held at the Tallahassee Nursery. They assist with silent auctions and registration at the Jesse Furlow benefit in Gadsden County or the Taylor Made Sing. They decorate and cook for Joyful Noise in Jefferson County or serve as hosts for events at cookouts in Wakulla and Franklin.
Veteran volunteers address special end-of-life needs as part of a Valor Ceremony. They offer Vet-to-Vet visits because sometimes the only person a veteran will talk to about their experience is another veteran.
Volunteers also sew, cook, provide transportation, or make weekly telephone calls. Volunteers with professional license provide professional pictures of the patient and family or pamper the patient with haircuts, shampoos, and manicures.
In 2016, these volunteers provided over 17,500 hours of service. So if you think we wait until April to say thank you to these walking angels – think again. We are thankful every day for all they do to help provide compassionate care to your friends and neighbors
If you would like to know more about the Big Bend Hospice Volunteer program, call Sharon Davidson at 850.878.5310 or visit www.bigbendhospice.org.