Ohio’s Community Mercy Hospice held a drive-thru thank-you event during National Volunteer Week in April to acknowledge and thank its volunteers.
“We appreciate our hospice volunteers for their generous contribution of their time and talents,” said Tami Clark, volunteer coordinator at Ohio’s Community Mercy Hospice. “Our volunteers are truly the heart of hospice care.”
From visiting with patients to making keepsake items for patients and families, volunteers play a vital role as members of the hospice care team. Because of COVID-19, volunteers have not been able to make patient visits, but they are finding other ways to show their care and support. Several volunteers are calling patients and family members to check in on them. They also are sending cards to their patients and the Ohio’s Hospice Community Mercy staff. In addition, animal-assisted therapy teams have sent videos and pictures for the nurses and social workers to show patients.
In past years, Ohio’s Community Mercy Hospice held its annual volunteer thank-you event during National Volunteer Week. In addition, the staff also provided volunteers with a gift when they came to the office. “Whether it was candy, doughnuts, cookies, popcorn, balloons, signs, etc., the volunteers have always enjoyed and appreciated it,” Clark said. “With restrictions currently in place with COVID-19, I thought of doing a curbside pickup for a sweet treat.”
So, Clark organized the drive-thru thank-you event for April 22 and 24. Maureen Swarts, manager of volunteer services at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, joined Clark on the second day of the event. They passed out several treats with words of praise for the volunteers. Each volunteer received a bag of chips and a candy bar of their choice. Each treat included a message, such as “You’re all that and a bag of chips!”
They held signs and cheered for the volunteers. One of the volunteers, who sings to patients with a group from the Threshold Choir, sang to Clark and Swarts from her car. Volunteers in line waved from their cars at other volunteers as they drove by. An animal-assisted therapy team drove through. Another volunteer was waiting at a local grocery store for his click list when he received a text that the store was running behind. He was happy he could leave and drive by to say hello.
“This event inspired comfort and heartwarming connections,” Clark said. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to recognize our volunteers.”
The volunteers appreciated the event. They sent notes of appreciation and thanks later by email and cards.
Here are a few of their notes:
- “How sweet of you to remember all of us during Volunteer Week. You and Maureen are truly a blessing to all of us. Thank you. It was great to see and talk with both of you last Friday. Praying we can all be together soon.”
- “Thank you for the treats that you made up for all of us volunteers. It is so nice to know how much we are appreciated. I don’t know about the other volunteers, but I get such a blessing from the work that I do. Looking forward to the time we can get back to a more normal atmosphere. May God bless and keep you safe.”
- “My prayers are with you and your colleagues. Thank you for the work that you are doing to care for families during this challenging time.”
- “That is very kind of you to do. I appreciate the effort and thoughtfulness. I am really missing singing to patients! We must be patient and trust that all will be well.”
Other affiliates at Ohio’s Hospice liked Clark’s idea so much that they also offered similar events at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton and Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County.
“This event put a huge smile on both the volunteers and the coordinators faces!” Swarts said. “We’re thrilled that we were able to recognize our volunteers at Ohio’s Community Mercy Hospice, Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton and Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County through the drive-thru thank-you event.”
Ohio’s Community Mercy Hospice, a service of Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, is a not-for-profit hospice founded in 2004. The community-based organization provides superior care and superior services for patients facing life limiting-illnesses in Clark, Madison, Greene and Champaign counties.