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ST. MARYS — A local hospice is in search of volunteers to help provide comfort, respite and support to area families and patients.
On Friday, Grand Lake Hospice, 1122 E. Spring St., St. Marys, held an open house for those interested in volunteering at the organization.
Volunteer Coordinator Julie Jacobs said volunteers are the lifeblood of any hospice.
“We’re just trying to get the word out about volunteering for hospice and the different ways you can volunteer at hospice,” Jacobs told The Evening Leader.
“There’s patient/family volunteers, which are volunteers who go and usually can sit at the bed side of the patient or they provide respite for the family. Other ways are administrative volunteers who come in and help in the office, they help make phone calls, make copies and do paper work. We also have groups who come in and make cards we send to bereaved families or current patients. We are trying to get together a group of people who can sew to make bears out of patients’ clothing or different blankets and quilts for their loved ones to remember them after they have gone.”
Attracting and retaining volunteers is vital to the operation of hospice. Jacobs said Medicare standards mandate the group uses volunteers who provide a 5 percent cost savings to the program.
“Volunteers are priceless to any hospice organization,” Jacobs said. “Volunteers allow nurses to be able to go see more patients because they won’t have to sit at the patient’s bed side, the volunteer can do that. Secretary and administrative wise, that takes a load off the rest of us here that they can come in and help answer phones and make copies.
Just the peace of mind they get, a lot of my volunteers say they cannot imagine not volunteering.”
Jacobs encouraged those interested in volunteering to visit the office.
“Volunteering cannot only change someone else’s life but it can also change your life,” Jacobs said.
“It can give you a new outlook on life, introduce you to new things that you’ve never tried before or were afraid to try. It’s just a different way that you can touch so many people by just doing minute, little things.”
Jacobs said organizers also are in the process of planning Grand Lake Hospice’s annual gala. The event serves as a major fundraiser for the hospice.
“This is our fourth gala we are having,” Jacobs said, noting the event will take place at 5 p.m. April 21 at Romer’s in Celina.
“With this event, it allows us to raise money for a comfort suite that we are going to be having up on the fifth floor at the hospital for patients and their families.”
The theme this year is “Hooray for Hollywood.” The event will feature a red carpet arrival, silent and live auctions as well as ample opportunities to assist the organization in its mission.
“Tickets are $50 per couple and that includes your meal and also a donation to go toward us,” Jacobs said.
‘It’s an excellent way to raise money for us.”
For more information, call Jacobs at 419-394-7434, ext. 2808.