April Is National Volunteer Appreciation Month

submitted by Katie Mandell, CVA, BBH Manager of Community Engagement

Big Bend Hospice (BBH) recognizes and values our Volunteers. Every hour a Volunteer donates makes a significant impact on our patients and their loved ones, including those Volunteers serving in an administrative role.

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” —Elizabeth Andrew

The onset of COVID-19 safety precautions imposed last Spring created a physical distance between our staff, volunteers, patients, and their caregivers. This caused a staggering sense of loss for everyone. But through all the pressures, our Volunteers continued to provide support and moments of happiness for our staff and our patient-families in various ways. They wrote letters and cards of encouragement to the nurses; painted rocks with cheerful messages for our Aides; made wrist corsages for our patients on Mother’s Day; and they donated, healthy snacks for our staff who continued to serve patients during the pandemic.

In early April 2020, BBH Volunteers procured hundreds of masks, face shields, gowns, and dozens of gallons of hand sanitizer when none could be found or purchased. BBH was never short of PPE supplies thanks to their efforts.

Once visitors could come back to our Dozier House, our Volunteers stepped up and assisted in pre-screening all guests to keep everyone safe. Some Volunteers came back early to serve as companions to those patients who were alone.

Volunteers didn’t flinch when patient care had to be done using strict precautions, including wearing full P.P.E. and keeping six feet apart whenever possible. They continually embraced both the difficulty and the beauty of this work.

Throughout the year our Volunteers helped caregivers who were concerned about exposure by running errands, making deliveries, and providing transportation for them. Volunteers were part of special events, like our Veterans Day drive-thru parade to recognize local Veterans in our community. They continue to hold Ensure drives, make beautiful quilt blankets and crafts for our patients.

Our Volunteers adopted patient-clients for the holidays who are experiencing financial hardships and gave them hope and joy. Caregivers received supportive notes and chocolates on Valentine’s day a reassurance they are valued and doing a good job.

Non-profits like Big Bend Hospice are a special place because of our Volunteers.

In honor of National Volunteer Month, please fist-bump a dedicated Volunteer the next time you see one!